On the night of March 6, an Augusta County animal control officer found a young Bald Eagle injured on a road in Middle River, VA. He was able to capture the eagle and called the Wildlife Center’s after-hours phone line for assistance. Dr. Sarah, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, met the animal control officer at the Wildlife Center later that night to admit the eagle.
On admission, the eagle was standing in its crate and was quiet but alert and responsive. Dr. Sarah examined the eagle and found that it was slightly dehydrated and thin, and had two small puncture wounds on its left wing that were bleeding. No other obvious external injuries were found. Radiographs revealed that the clavicle in its right wing was fractured, and that it had a small pocket of air in its abdominal area. After examining the eagle, Dr. Sarah drew a blood sample that came back positive for 0.016ppm lead -- a subclinical level that overtime can cause coordination issues and difficulty flying.
Dr. Sarah suspects that the eagle’s lead toxicity has been an ongoing issue, and predisposed it to being hit by a car, the likely cause of its injuries. She immediately administered fluids to correct its dehydration and anti-inflammatory medication to help its injuries heal, and started the eagle on chelation therapy to remove the lead from its system. After receiving treatment, the eagle was placed in one of the Center’s indoor holding areas to rest for the night.
The following day the Center’s veterinary staff discovered that the eagle also had a fracture in its right coracoid. In addition to its other treatments, the veterinary staff started the eagle on a course of pain medication and applied a body wrap to stabilize its fractures in order for them to heal correctly. They also applied an anti-septic to the puncture wounds on its left wing.
The eagle is currently being housed inside the Center where it can be easily monitored by the veterinary staff. They report that it has been bright and even feisty on some days, though its prognosis for recovery is guarded due to multiple injuries.