On October 2, the Wildlife Center admitted adult Bald Eagle #18-2865 from Accomack County. The eagle was observed swimming to shore at a campground; upon reaching the shore, the eagle was rescued and taken to a nearby wildlife rehabilitator for assessment and stabilization. The eagle was transferred to the Center the following day.
Upon admission to the Center, the eagle was bright, alert, and standing in his crate. An eye examination revealed retinal tears in his left eye. The eagle had blunted talons on both feet, and his right leg was swollen and bruised with obvious puncture wounds; the wounds were necrotic and infested with maggots. Radiographs revealed a previously healed left wing fracture, but no fractures were identified in either leg.
The veterinary staff estimated that the injuries were about a week old. Based on the location and size of the wounds, it’s most likely that this bird got into a fight with another eagle.
The veterinary staff cleaned the wounds using a medicated flush. Debridement and closure of the wounds was planned for several days later when the bird was more stable and the maggots had been entirely removed.
The bird received anti-inflammatories and fluids, and the veterinary staff started a course of antibiotics and daily eye drops. Due to the retinal tears, the eagle is automatically placed on a three-month hold; in order to properly assess any long-term damage to the bird’s vision, the staff will monitor the bird during the next few months.
By October 4, the eagle’s puncture wounds were scabbing; Dr. Peach says that debridement of the wounds is not necessary at this time, as the wounds appear to be healing.
Unfortunately, the eagle is not bearing weight on his uninjured leg (the left leg) and the reason is unclear; the eagle responds to stimuli appropriately in both legs. The veterinary staff will continue to monitor the eagle and will perform further diagnostics if the bird continues to bear weight unevenly.
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