Bald Eagle #16-0001

Admission Date: 
January 2, 2016
Location of Rescue: 
Buena Vista, VA
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Hit by car; lead toxicity
Euthanized January 5, 2016
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

On January 2 [at approximately 11:45 a.m.], the Wildlife Center admitted the first patient of 2016.

An adult Bald Eagle was found down on the ground in a traffic median in Buena Vista, Virginia after it was likely hit by a car.

The bird was bright, alert, and in excellent body condition when it arrived at the Center, but was found sternally recumbent [chest down] with both hind legs extended in its crate. Dr. Dana examined the bird and found the bird was unable to move either of its limbs but did have mild pain response in both legs. Blood was also found in the eagle’s mouth and crackle sounds were heard in both lungs.

Radiographs were taken and revealed increased opacity in the lungs, air sacs, and abdomen indicating soft tissue damage and internal hemorrhaging. No fractures or other abnormalities were found.

Dr. Dana also drew blood for a complete blood count and lead analysis. Results indicated mild anemia [likely due to blood loss and hemorrhaging] and elevated lead blood levels.

Bald Eagle #16-0001 was started on chelation therapy, was given fluids, anti-inflammitories, and pain killers, and placed in the Center’s holding room overnight.

The following morning, the bird was bright and alert, but was still sternally recumbent. Dr. Dana noted some slight improvement in the eagles’ pain response in both limbs, but the bird was still unable to move its legs. With the slight improvement in motor function, the veterinary team massaged and performed range of motion exercises on the bird’s legs. During the physical therapy session, the team noted more blood in the Bald Eagle’s mouth. The blood was cleaned and the eagle returned to its crate in the Center’s holding room.

The prognosis for Bald Eagle #16-0001 is grave due to the paralysis in the bird’s legs and the reoccurring blood in its mouth. The team will continue to administer fluids, pain and anti-inflammatory medication, and chelation therapy during the next few days. If clinical improvement is not noted within five to seven days, or clinical signs worsen, the veterinary team will consider humane euthanasia.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide care to this Bald Eagle … and all of the patients admitted in 2016. Please help!


January 6, 2016

During the two days following admission, Bald Eagle #16-0001 continued to receive pain-killers, anti-inflammatories, chelation therapy for its elevated lead blood levels. The bird continued to have difficulty breathing despite being placed on supplemental oxygen.

On the evening of January 5, Dr. Helen re-examined Bald Eagle #16-0001 and noted that the eagle’s neurologic condition and paralysis in its limbs had worsened. The bird no longer exhibited a pain response and was dull and unresponsive. Since the eagle no longer showed a pain response and continued to decline clinically, Bald Eagle #16-0001 was humanely euthanized.

Share This Page