Bald Eagle #21-1030 was admitted to the Wildlife Center on May 7 after it was found at a landfill in King and Queen County, Virginia. Upon admission, the veterinarians noted that this eagle was quiet, but alert and responsive. During the physical exam, former veterinary intern Dr. Sarah found scarring and discoloration in the eagle’s left eye, but the patient appeared to still have functioning eyesight. This eagle also had a large wound on the left elbow with crusted dirt and discharge which, after being removed, revealed necrotic muscle tissue. The necrotic tissue was able to be removed, the wound was further cleaned and bandaged, and a body wrap was applied to immobilize the wing and allow the tissue to heal.
Radiographs revealed no fractures in any of the extremities but did reveal metallic material in the bird’s crop and gizzard. After an in-house lead test revealed a lead level of 0.221 parts per million, the decision was made to lavage this material out of the bird’s body.
The patient was given various pain, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medications, as well as a tail guard and a strict monitoring schedule.
On May 12, after careful consideration, this bird was anesthetized and Dr. Karra performed surgery to clean and close the elbow wound with sutures. On the 14th, after two days of post-operation healing, the decision was made to remove the body wrap and allow the eagle to move its wing more. The following day Dr. Cameron noted that the “incision site looks great.” Swelling and discharge have remained minimal as time has passed.
On May 24 the eagle was noted to be bright, alert, responsive, and feisty, all of which are positive signs that this eagle is regaining its strength and energy. Finally, on May 27 this bird was moved outside to A3, one of the Center’s largest flight pens, to give it an opportunity to stretch its healing wing in a larger outdoor space, and to spend time with other rehabilitating eagle patients. You can watch these eagles on one of our Critter Cams here.