Bald Eagle #17-2740

Admission Date: 
December 17, 2017
Location of Rescue: 
Culpeper County, VA
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Lead toxicity
Died December 22, 2017
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

On December 16, a Bald Eagle was found down in a field in Culpeper County; the bird was unable to fly and was able to be captured. The bird transported to the Wildlife Center the following afternoon. This is the 55th Bald Eagle admitted to the Center in 2017. 

Dr. Monica, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, examined the female eagle when she arrived. Based on plumage, the eagle appears to be about four to five years old. At admission, the eagle was bright, alert and standing in the transport crate and was exhibiting a slight right wing hike. Radiographs revealed an old, healed fracture at the tip of the bird’s right wing (the minor metacarpal bone). A fracture was noted at the bird’s right elbow joint, although the eagle did not have issues with wing extension. Dr. Monica also noted that the eagle’s heart appeared enlarged.

Blood was drawn for analysis; a lead test revealed that – like so many other eagle admissions of 2017 – the bird was positive for lead, with levels at 0.43 ppm. Dr. Monica started chelation therapy right away to remove the lead from the bird’s blood. The eagle’s wing was wrapped to stabilize the fractured elbow. The eagle also received fluids before she was settled into a crate in the Center’s holding room.

Chelation therapy will continue for the next five days. Even if the eagle survives and the lead is removed from her system, long-term monitoring of the eagle’s stamina will be needed. Lead toxicity can cause permanent heart damage, which can affect stamina and the bird’s ability to fly well enough for release.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide care to this Bald Eagle ... and to the 2,700 sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals the Center will treat this year.


January 1, 2018

The staff continued chelation therapy for Bald Eagle #17-2740 to remove the lead from the eagle’s blood. Sadly, on the fourth day of treatment, the eagle died.