Bald Eagle #19-3193

Admission Date: 
November 7, 2019
Location of Rescue: 
Pittsylvania County, VA
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Suspect trauma
Patient Status: 
Current Patient

On November 7, an adult Bald Eagle was rescued after it was found down in the ground in Pittsylvania County. The eagle as taken to the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke, where it was stabilized before it was sent to the Wildlife Center of Virginia the following day.

Dr. Claire, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, examined the Bald Eagle. The eagle was quiet, but standing and alert and attempted to avoid restraint. No fractures were noted, though after taking radiographs, Dr. Claire was able to see that the eagle’s heart was abnormally enlarged; the eagle did have some abnormal heartbeats after it was under anesthesia for the examination and diagnostics. A lead test revealed a subclinical level of 0.15 ppm.

Dr. Claire gave the eagle fluids, anti-inflammatories, and started an oral chelation therapy to treat the eagle for the low levels of lead. Dr. Claire reported, “The cause of the enlarged heart is unknown, but may be due to trauma (such as being hit by a vehicle) or toxicosis (organophosphates). Another potential differential for clinical signs is another toxicosis such as barbiturates from feeding on previously euthanized animals or other heavy metal toxicosis.  Due to the severity of the cardiac abnormalities, the eagle patient has a guarded to poor prognosis.”

The veterinary team added a course of atropine, a medication to treat the eagle’s irregular heartbeat, and continued to offer supportive care during the days following admission. On November 10, the veterinary team ran another lead test; results were 0.038 ppm. Since the levels were decreasing the team decided to continue with the oral chelation therapy.

Within a week, the eagle’s condition improved. On November 19, the eagle was moved to a small outdoor enclosure for additional observation.

Your donation will help provide veterinary medical care to this Bald Eagle. Thank you!