Thursday, November 29, 2007

Here a Raptor, There a Raptor, Everywhere....Raptors!

Did I mention we have a few raptors in residence right now? They run the gauntlet in sizes, so let's start with the wee ones first.

This is an American Kestrel we got in from the mainland. I had to take the picture through the bars of her carrier, as she was too stressed out.

Found by a highway, she held her left eye shut, indicating a possible head injury, and when x-rayed, we saw this:

Yep, she fractured her tibiotarsus, hence the leg splint on her. This x-ray was taken after she was splinted to make sure things were lined up correctly. She was given some homeopathic drugs for trauma and bone healing. After a few weeks or so, we noticed that her left foot was swelling, even though the splint wasn't tight at all and we had made sure she could move her toes. It even got so bad that a talon FELL OFF while I was holding her during an exam. Not pretty, nor was it a good sign. Our wonderful vet and Board member, Dr. Michelle Loftus...Hi Michelle!...came by and suggested we do water therapy and laser therapy on her foot, alternating days. Care to guess what mechanism we used for the water therapy? Tada!!!

I have some not so fond memories of one of these during my 5 painful years of orthodontics, but that's for another time and another blog. We filled this up with warm water and then let the water pulse all over her foot. She struggled a bit during this process and while I patiently tried to explain that we humans pay good money, and a lot of it, for treatment like this so she should relax and try and enjoy it, it was to no avail. Over the next week her foot swelling started to lessen and eventually, after taking one last x-ray to make sure things were healed well and proper....

we took off her splint.

You can see that one toe still looks swollen, and yes, that's the one the talon fell off of, but overall the leg and foot look GREAT! This is the point where I got to try my hand at giving her laser therapy.

It was an easy process, just making sure the laser was set at the proper settings and, while holding it about an inch away from the leg, running the beam up and down the leg. She's doing great and as of last week, she was in one of the outdoor aviaries, stretching her wings and exercising that leg.

Then we got in this Merlin.

Found under window on someone's porch in Mt. Vernon, we assume he flew into the window. It was unable to stand and very stressed out, but there were no signs of neurological impairment, but we gave it non-steroidal anti-inflammatories to combat whatever swelling might be causing its legs not to function properly. When it did start to walk and tried to fly, we noticed it was listing to the left and not flying well at all. The problem? This.

Three of its flight feathers have snapped in half. And it's impossible for it to fly well enough to capture food like this. So, we have two options. The interesting option, which Dr. Loftus is looking in to...Did I mention she specializes in avian veterinary medicine? She is VERY handy and it is much appreciated to have her around in situations like this!! imping the feathers. This is a process by which you graft the feather from another bird of the same species, which has died, onto the broken bits. They are held in place by tiny bamboo sticks which are glued into the hollow shaft of each feather. I am to understand that it is a VERY tricky procedure, as if it doesn't line up properly, the bird still won't be able to fly well. That leaves option two, which is to wait until the bird molts, which they only do once a year. So we could potentially have the Merlin here for MONTHS!! For now we have placed him outside in a small mew.

Then along came this Cooper's Hawk.

Found on nearby Lopez Island, it too had hit a window! It was holding its legs rigid and while able to move them, couldn't stand on them. We started it on some non-steroidal anti-inflammatories for possible nerve swelling. Its left pupil was also dilated. Due to the leg issue, we made a donut out of a towel for it to rest on and also made a tail guard so it wouldn't mangle its tail feathers while it was grounded, so to speak.

We did initially have to force feed it, which isn't fun for anyone....

..but it eventually regained the use of its legs, although it's still a wee bit wobbly, started eating on its own, and its left eye pupil started being more responsive to light. At this point, we moved it to one of the outdoor aviaries where it is doing just fine.

Now, for the big boys! We have in not one, but two Red-tailed hawks! The first to come in was this juvenile, one of this year's babies.

One can easily tell he's a youngster by his light coloring. This poor guy was hit not by one, but by TWO cars, before the people in the third car, having witnessed it getting hit twice, stopped to rescue it! If you have read my blog, you know how I feel about this, so I won't go on another rant. Needless to say he came in with a few issues. He came in with a head injury, slipping in and out of consciousness. His left eye pupil was fixed and dilated. He also had a marked Nystagmus, which is a neurological side-to-side head twitch. It looked like he was slowly looking to his right, and then his head would snap back to the center. He was given meds and vitamins for stress and nerve damage. He was also given steroids as an anti-inflammatory. Because we knew the injury was very recent, within an hour or so of when we got him in, steroids can be used as a neurological anti-inflammatory. I know there are pros and cons to this but after listening to all sides, this is the procedure the staff at Wolf Hollow follows.

And, because he is a critical care patient, he gets the works. He was very dehydrated, so he was tube fed fluids.

He also gets force fed until such time as he can eat on his own.

He seemed to take it in stride, but my guess is that's just because he didn't have the energy to fight us too much on it.

We then got in this adult Red-tailed hawk, who was found standing in a field along side a road.

It can't fly or stand on its left leg. The blue towel you see is a support donut that we can't seem to keep him on. He was given a homeopathic drug for trauma and we x-rayed him but found no fractures, so the leg injury could be one of the soft tissue variety. He, too, gets the full treatment of being tubed.....

...and being force fed, although if you got the meat pieces in towards the back of his beak, he readily swallowed them.

And yes, I know this picture is blurry, thank you very much, but I chose it because it lends an almost surrealistic feel to the feeding...don't you think? I also might have chosen it because it was the best one I had of this process with him!

I think I will leave the posting as such, with just the raptors in care being chronicled. We do have in a Great Blue heron and I heard we got in a Bald eagle that was on the losing end of a territorial battle, but I will have to get the story on her when I go in on Saturday. Til next time...