After much evaluation and discussion, the veterinary team made the difficult decision to euthanize Bald Eagle NZ, #11-0474. Due to the severity of her injuries, the eagle would never be able to be released back into the wild. The eagle's right leg fracture was open and contaminated; while that leg fracture may have been surgically repairable, NZ's right-wing injury was severe. The trauma to NZ's wingtip caused all of the small, delicate bones in the end of her wing to fracture into multiple pieces; the soft tissue and bones were infected, and the bone fragments had already started to die. Dr. Karra estimates that the trauma to NZ occurred about five to seven days ago. Sadly, there is no treatment possible to salvage the dead, infected bones, which means NZ could never be returned to the wild. NZ was also very thin, with a body condition of 1/5, and a blood lead level of 0.1 ppm.
The Center staff are deeply saddened by the outcome, given the history with this "rock star" patient; she was first admitted with her siblings more than nine years ago, in the spring of 2011. However, it's comforting to know that NZ has been in the wild for nine years, living her life as a wild eagle should.
Radiographs of NZ's severe injuries