Canada Goose #17-0232

Admission Date: 
March 13, 2017
Release Date: 
April 4, 2017
Location of Rescue: 
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Entangled in fishing line
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

On March 13, an adult Canada Goose was rescued from the Charlottesville, VA area after a private citizen suspected it had a broken leg. The goose was transported to the Wildlife Center on the same day and was admitted as patient #17-0232.

A physical examination performed by the veterinary team revealed fishing line entangled the bird’s right wing and right leg and damaged a number of primary feathers. The fishing line was knotted and deeply embedded in several places near the base of the right wing and the right leg. Radiographs showed minor swelling on the left leg as well, but there was no evidence of a fracture or break. Veterinary staff also noted the goose was very thin.

The line was carefully cut away, and the entirety of the entangled line was successfully removed. The injured areas were thoroughly cleansed, and an antibiotic cream was applied to all wounds. The vet team administered fluid therapy, pain medication, and antibiotics for the goose. Antibiotics will be very important for this goose, as the wounds caused by the fishing line leave this patient highly susceptible to infection.

Physical therapy of the right wing will be crucial, in order to prevent further injury to the patagium --the skin along the top of the bird’s wing. Geese need to be able to fly at high altitudes and for long distances — any type of wing injury will usually lead to a poor prognosis. However, there is currently no evidence of a decreased range of motion or damage to the patagium ligament; with daily physical therapy, the prognosis for this goose is fair.

During the coming weeks, fluid therapy, pain medication, and antibiotics therapy will continue. The bird’s wounds will be cleaned daily, and therapeutic laser therapy will be performed on the right wing and leg to promote healing. The goose will also swim daily in a special indoor tub. A goose’s feathers need to be wet consistently to ensure that the feather coating remains intact and waterproof.

In this video, the veterinary staff is misting the goose. The goose is ambivalent about the experience, alternating between hissing at the staff and contentedly preening its feathers.



Litter is detrimental for a myriad of reasons, and fishing-related litter causes injury and death to thousands of wildlife ever year. Hooks or fishing line can become embedded in the skin; hooks, lines, and weights can be swallowed, causing injury or illness. Wildlife entangled in fishing line may suffer for a long time and eventually die because they cannot move to find food or evade danger.

Help keep wildlife safe by never leaving fishing line behind at your fishing spot; instead, take it home and cut it into small pieces before throwing it out. Line caught in foliage can become entangled around wildlife, so be mindful of your surroundings when casting. Make sure to remove bait from your hook and put your tackle in a safe place if you are stepping away from your equipment.

Your special donation will help the Center provide specialized veterinary medical care to this goose … and all of the patients admitted in 2017. Please help!


April 5, 2017

By April 4, the veterinary and rehabilitation staff determined that Canada Goose #17-0232 was in good body condition and was healthy enough for release. The wounds and swelling on the right leg and wing were healed, and the bird maintained sufficient waterproofing after being housed in the Aviary with a small pool. The goose also flew well during a test flight in an outdoor enclosure.

The goose's original rescuer released the bird where it where it was initially found in Charlottesville.

March 31, 2017

Canada Goose #17-0232 has been moved into the outdoor aviary. In order to acclimate to his new surroundings, for several days the goose was moved outside during the day and spent nights in the indoor ICU, where he's been since admission. In his new enclosure, there's a small pool where the goose is able to swim and bathe, so misting has been discontinued. The pool and larger enclosure will encourage him to move around more and resume natural behaviors.

The goose's wounds have been healing well; the leg wound is healed completely, and the wing wound is nearly healed. The wing wound has been cleaned daily, and antibiotics have been discontinued now that there is a reduced risk of infection from open wounds.

In addition to physical therapy, the goose now receives therapeutic laser therapy around both the leg and wing wounds to stimulate healing and cell growth. Special attention is being paid to the patagium to ensure correct healing. The goose is eating well and finishes his meals entirely; the staff hopes to see the goose continue to gain weight because his body condition is still poor.