Bald Eagle #20-0994

Admission Date: 
May 14, 2020
Location of Rescue: 
Pittsylvania County
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Lead poisoning
Patient Status: 
Current Patient

On May 13, an adult Bald Eagle was found down in a field on a dead cow in Pittsylvania County. A DGIF Conservation Police Officer was able to contain the eagle, and took it to nearby Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke for initial treatment. The following day, the eagle was transported to the Wildlife Center. 

Dr. Ernesto, the Center's hospital director, examined the eagle when it arrived. The bird was bright, alert, and standing and generally was in good body condition. The physical examination and radiographs were within normal limits, but a blood lead test revealed that the bird had lead toxicosis at a level of 0.22 ppm. Dr. Ernesto began a course of both oral and injectable chelation therapy, which will essentially "scrub" the lead from the bird's system. The bird was placed in the Center's holding room for observation. 

On May 18, Dr. Karra reported that the eagle was extremely feisty during treatments -- an encouraging sign! The eagle will finish its course of chelation therapy on May 19 and will be tested again for lead later this week. 

Your donation will help provide veterinary medical care to this Bald Eagle ... and more than 3,000 other wildlife patients admitted this year. Thank you! 


June 3, 2020

On May 30, Bald Eagle #20-0994 finished its course of oral chelation therapy for the subclinical level of lead toxicity in the bird's system. The following day, the staff re-checked the lead levels and found a reduced level of 0.003 ppm -- just a little above the "low" reading. The eagle has been eating well, and has indicated its preference for fish. 

On June 2, the rehabilitation staff moved the eagle to flight pen A1, where it will share a space with Bald Eagle #20-0918 [RU]

May 26, 2020

After Bald Eagle #20-0994 finished its course of chelation therapy last week, a repeat lead text revealed a "low" blood lead level, and the bird was moved to a small outdoor enclosure. Because lead can also be stored in the bones of an affected animal, the team decided to monitor the eagle in the outdoor space and re-test its lead levels in several days. On May 25, a repeat lead test revealed a level of 0.066 ppm, indicating that while the chelation therapy may have helped remove the lead from the eagle's blood, there was still lead in the bird's system. Another course of chelation therapy will begin on May 26.