A Fish Crow was admitted to the Wildlife Center on November 26 as patient #16-2468. Fish Crows are similar to American Crows in appearance and behavior, but are typically smaller in size. Like American Crows they are very social birds, forming large flocks in winter months. Fish Crows have a more limited range than American Crows; they can be found mainly along the east coast of the United States.
Fish Crow #16-2468 was first rescued on November 23 in Newport News, Virginia, after it was attacked by a cat; the crow was dropped off at a veterinary clinic and was transferred to a wildlife rehabilitator in the area. A volunteer transporter brought the crow to the Wildlife Center for continued treatment.
During the initial exam at the Wildlife Center, the crow was quiet, and radiographs showed a fractured humerus in the right wing. Though the crow was attacked by a cat, veterinary intern Dr. Peach believes the wing fracture was caused by a prior incident, possibly a collision with a car or window. With an injured wing, the crow was vulnerable to an attack by the cat.
The crow's right wing was wrapped to stabilize the fracture, and the bird was given pain medication and an anti-inflammatory. The wing was fractured in multiple fragments, meaning that surgical repair would be necessary and could be complicated.
Dr. Peach performed surgery on November 28, placing an intramedullary pin and an external fixator to stabilize the fractured wing. The vet staff monitored the surgical site for signs of severe inflammation or infection, cleaning the pin sites daily. The crow was consistently eating at least 50% of the offered meal each day.
By December 3, the veterinary staff began therapeutic laser therapy to assist with healing; on December 5 the staff began performing daily physical therapy to increase the crow's range of motion in the injured right wing. Physical therapy helps, in part, to prevent scar tissue development on the patagium -- the skin along the leading edge of the wing.
Radiographs on December 9 showed that the wing is healing well; Dr. Peach was able to visualize and palpate a callus forming at the fracture site, indicating positive progress. By December 12, the Fish Crow had at least 70% range of motion in the right wing. Radiographs are scheduled for December 19, at which time Dr. Peach will decide if it is appropriate to remove the external fixator from the crow's stabilizing hardware.
Until then, the crow will continue daily physical therapy and laser therapy, and the veterinary staff will monitor the bird's surgical site, attitude, and appetite.