On the evening of February 16, a member of the public found a Bald Eagle on the ground in their yard in Troutville, VA. After determining the bird was unable to fly, so they contacted the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center, a permitted local wildlife hospital and rehabilitation center. One of their staff members was able to capture the eagle and bring it back to their facility later that night. On arrival, their veterinary staff examined it and discovered that it had a fracture of the ulna in its right wing. After bandaging its wing to stabilize the fracture and administering anti-inflammatory medication and fluids, the eagle was transferred to the Wildlife Center of Virginia the following day for further evaluation of its injuries.
On admission the eagle was quiet but alert and responsive. Dr. Cameron, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, performed a physical exam which revealed a heavy infestation of lice and swelling on two of the toes on the eagle's right foot, one of which was infected and had necrotic tissue and discharge around the base of the nail. During the exam, Dr. Cameron removed the eagle's bandage to examine its injured wing. The wing was swollen, had a decreased range of motion, and made a grating sound when moved, all indicative of a fracture. Radiographs were taken and confirmed the ulna fracture found by the veterinary staff at the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center. Because eagles are often admitted with lead toxicity, a blood test was also performed after its exam, and came back positive for 0.13 ppm of lead -- a subclinical level that may be unlikely to cause noticeable symptoms, but still requiring treatment.
Based on the eagle’s injuries, Dr. Cameron suspects that it endured some form of blunt force trauma, the most likely cause being a vehicle collision. He immediately applied a bandage and body wrap to stabilize the eagle’s injured wing, which he believes will be sufficient for the fracture to heal correctly due to the location of the fracture and the minimal displacement of the injured bone. The wounds on its toes were flushed with iodine and the eagle began a course of antibiotics, which Dr. Cameron hopes will clear up the infection. In addition, the eagle started chelation therapy to remove the lead from its system, fluids to protect its kidneys during treatment, and a course of anti-inflammatories. A topical spray was also applied to treat its lice infestation.
The day after admission, blood work revealed that the eagle was also mildly anemic. To help resolve this issue, an iron supplement was administered by the veterinary staff.
The eagle is currently being housed in the Center’s indoor holding area where it can rest between treatments and the veterinary staff are able to closely monitor it. They note that the eagle appears brighter after starting treatment, though given its condition and multiple injuries, its prognosis is guarded.