Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ol' Witch not feeling well

We have two Bald Eagles that are permanent residents at our clinic since the Exxon Valdez Disaster in 1989. Ol' Witch is the female and she usually takes back seat in popularity to One Wing her long time companion and mew mate. I have written about them both a few times. They both have amazing stories and are quite the pair.

Ol' Witch was found in her mew the other day acting very uncoordinated. She was brought in and examined and found to be dehydrated. She was immediately given an IV and blood was drawn for testing. She was placed in an inside mew so she could be observed closed.

Here's an email to the clinic volunteers from Cindy Palmatier, Rehabilitation Director, on the blood results.....

Update: Ol' Witch

We got the blood work results back today. Based on these results and her
clinical signs it appears that she is either in kidney failure or has a mass
in her abdomen that has finally gotten large enough to cause a problem. I
spoke with Dr. Scott and he estimates that the bird is probably 35 or so
years old. She was a mature adult when she came in. This could simply be
the end of a long and pampered life for this old girl, but I'm not willing
to give up completely yet. If we can get her stabilized I will schedule
x-rays, but I don't want to add the stress right now. The vets feel that if
we can turn her around it will need to be in the next week, so here's the

She continues to be unstable on her feet, she is lethargic and not eating.
Due to the level of dehydration and lack of food intake we are now tube
feeding her. We will also be giving more IV fluids on Friday. Please
continue to offer small amounts of salmon or red meat to see if she will
begin eating on her own again.

Please tube feed 120ml of salmon slurry twice daily over the long weekend.
I know we are running one shift per day, but if you can tube when you first
get here, and once again before you leave that should be good. As usual,
plenty of water available if she decides to drink.

We are fortunate to have Katie here to keep an eye on things during the
evenings right now. :)

If you have any questions, please let me know. I will not be going out of
town for the weekend, so give a call if you need to.

My cell # is ***-****, as some of you know, I'm not always the best at
keeping it in reach, but I'll try.


Cindy Palmatier
Rehabilitation Director
Bird Treatment & Learning Center


LauraHinNJ said...

It just amazes me that she could be more than 35 years old! Would she live that long in the wild, Dave?

How hard is it to tube feed an eagle? I have to force feed my little bunnies sometimes when they're not feeling well - and if a little bunny can be so fierce - I can only imagine the challenge of feeding an eagle!

Hope she does well.

Susan Gets Native said...

Tube feeding....I feel for ya, Dave.
Let's hope that if it's not her time, you guys can pull her back. And if it is her time, she goes peacefully.

Dave said...

Laura - In the wild, bald eagles can live to 30 years. Obviously in captivity they can live longer. Tube feeding takes at least 2 people. You have to watch out for those talons.

Susan - Thanks.

robin andrea said...

So, how is she? It's been a couple of days since the long weekend. I hope she is feeling better.

You folks at the center truly amaze me. What fantastic work you do.

Dave said...

Robin - right now she's holding her own. I'll have a full update for you during the weekend.