The Case of the Feisty Great Horned Owl

Every new animal that walks (or flies) through our doors presents us with a different sort of adventure!  Some animals have an easy fix and simply need supportive care, such as warming and rehydration, to get back on their feet. Others, such as the owl in this article, need a bit more of a hands-on approach.

This great horned owl presented to my team on December 16th after being found in the grille of a truck with a fracture in his left wing, mild dehydration, hemorrhage (bleeding) in one eye, and a pale plaque on his tongue.  On first examination, we noted that he was quiet but alert.  After some initial stabilization, we obtained radiographs (x-rays) to evaluate his fractured wing and determine if it could be corrected with surgery.  As you can see from the red circle in his radiograph below, the fracture occurred in the middle of his left ulna (the bone between his elbow and wrist).  Fortunately for our owl friend, this type of break is very fixable with surgery!

Our treatment plan included pain medication (fractures are painful in birds, just like they are for us!), an anti-inflammatory medication for his fracture and his eye, and fluid therapy to correct his dehydration. Surgery was in his near future, as well as further testing of his tongue plaque to determine what treatment, if any, was necessary.

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Enrichment for Wildlife Patients

When someone gets a new pet, be it a dog, cat, or ferret, one of the most fun aspects is buying new and fun toys for our animal to enjoy! The value of this act goes much deeper than the smile-inducing super cute Instagram-worthy photos they create. These toys are essential for the animal to keep their mind stimulated and its body active while we are away, or very busy videoing their antics. This principle is the same for the patients here at the Wildlife Medical Clinic, particularly for our long-term patients. Enrichment is a very important part of wildlife medicine as the psychological needs of these individuals go hand in hand with their physical needs.

Delphine, our lovable ambassador opossum, explores a cardboard tube stuffed with snacks!

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