Bald Eagle Update!

You may recall a case from mid-November involving a female Bald Eagle with a metacarpal fracture- if not, you can read about the initial treatments here. A bony callus had formed appropriately over the well-aligned fracture site after cage rest with a wing wrap immobilization, and all else was well with the patient, so the team had elected to transfer this patient to the Illinois Raptor Center in order to give the patient more room to exercise and strengthen the wing before release. Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans may not always work out!

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A Different Kind of Thanksgiving Bird!

On the day before Thanksgiving this year, a female mallard duck was brought to the Wildlife Medical Clinic after being hit by a car four days prior.

Physical examination found that the patient was not able to stay standing, although she was able to place her hindlimbs appropriately underneath her and move them when held in the air. No fractures were palpated, and the rest of the physical examination was generally unremarkable. Unfortunately, she appeared to have lost some waterproofing, which ducks and other aquatic birds normally need to keep their feathers dry. The patient was started on an anti-inflammatory medication and given swim time twice daily.

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Lead Toxicosis

Case Reports

Written by Anamaria Cruz

It was a blustery, cold January afternoon, and my pager shift was nearly over. Just as I was walking to hand off my pager to my teammates on the next shift, the pager buzzed – once, then again. Two patients, both raptors, both sounding like they were suffering from head trauma. The first patient, a red-tailed hawk, had obvious signs of external trauma, broken bones, blood from the nares. It was started on fluid therapy designed to reduce swelling within the skull. The other patient was a bald eagle – presenting with similar neurologic signs, but, mysteriously, lacking any external damage. The triage team conducted a nervous system exam, and suspected poisoning. After a challenging blood draw and an anxious wait by the in-house lead analyzer, the culprit was revealed: sky-high levels of lead.

In January 2018, the Wildlife Medical Clinic received three adult bald eagles over the course of two weeks. All three patients presented with severe neurologic signs, including torticollis (abnormally twisting neck muscles), head-turning, ventroflexion (head cranked downwards), ataxia (incoordination), and weakness.

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