Bald Eagle #18-0132

Admission Date: 
March 6, 2018
Location of Rescue: 
Albemarle County, VA
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Likely hit by vehicle
Patient Status: 
Current Patient

On March 5, a private citizen from the Charlottesville area noticed a Bald Eagle with a drooping wing on the ground near a road. The incident was reported to local Animal Control Officers, who then contacted a Wildlife Center volunteer transporter. The eagle was rescued on March 6 and admitted to the Center later that day.

Dr. Ernesto, the Center’s Hospital Director, examined the adult female eagle on arrival. The eagle was quite, alert, and responsive during the physical exam, but had a low heart rate and increased respiratory sounds. The left eye was slightly enlarged, and a faint crack was located on one of the eagle’s talons on the right foot.

The results of emergency blood work were unremarkable, but radiographs revealed signs of severe internal trauma to soft-tissue and organs, including an abnormally large amount of fluid in the chest cavity near the heart, and evidence of significant bruising on the eagle’s lungs. Dr. Ernesto noted that while the enlarged eye may be the result of an unrelated event or natural asymmetry, the eagle’s internal injuries suggest it had suffered from a high-impact collision, and may have been struck by a vehicle.

The eagle was placed in the Center’s holding room, where it received supportive care including oxygen therapy, fluids, pain medication, anti-inflammatories, and anti-parasitics. Several days after admission, the eagle improved, though still had an increased level of respiratory sounds during daily monitoring, indicating the possibility of additional fluid in the lungs or air sacs.

The eagle is currently being housed in the indoor holding area of the Center. Veterinary staff will continue to monitor its clinical signs daily, administer medications, and change protective bandages as needed. A second set of radiographs are scheduled to be taken on March 13, after which the staff will reassess the eagle’s overall condition and develop a plan of long-term care.

Based on the severity of the internal trauma, prognosis is guarded.

Your donation helps to provide for the specialized care for this Bald Eagle, as well as the 2,500 animals that are admitted to the Center annually.