Red-shouldered Hawk #18-3849

Red-shouldered Hawk #18-3849
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Sep 30 2018

The red-shouldered hawk has been through quite the ordeal. A truck traveling across Alligator Alley (I-75) in the Everglades struck the hawk on Saturday (9/29). The driver was unaware that the hawk had been trapped in the grill until they saw it the next morning. At first they thought the hawk was dead and went to remove it from their grill. They quickly noticed it was still alive and worked to free the bird by cutting the grill plate out from underneath it. Once it was out of the grill, the driver rushed the hawk to the CROW Clinic so it could receive medical treatment.

Status Updates

Intake Exam - Sep 30 2018 11:45 am

Veterinarians performed an intake exam on the juvenile hawk. It had a quiet mentation, likely from head trauma, but was still able to bite at the staff. The veterinarian was able to palpate, or feel, that the bird had a fractured radius and ulna of its left wing which was later confirmed using radiographs. The fractures had not penetrated the skin and were simple fractures, meaning they were relatively clean breaks, however the location of the fracture presents a challenge. Veterinarians worked to stabilize the bird by providing IV fluid therapy, pain medication and placing it in a oxygen chamber. Once the hawk stabilizes, surgery to place pins to stabilize the fractures as they heal can be performed in the next couple days.

Surgery: Part 1 - Oct 01 2018 10:00 am

The juvenile red-shouldered hawk underwent surgery this morning to repair its broken wing. Veterinarians placed a total of three pins in the fractured bones. One was placed through the broken pieces of the ulna and one in the radius. A single cross pin was also placed.

Surgery: Part 2 - Oct 01 2018 12:15 pm

Once the pins were in place, their positions were checked using radiographs. Seeing that the placement was correct, the veterinary team then connected the ends of the three pins using an external fixator. The external fixator consists of a plastic straw filled with methyl methacrylate, a polymer that hardens to form a rigid connection.

Surgery: Part 3 - Oct 01 2018 12:45 pm

Once the external fixator had solidified in place, it was wrapped in a bandage. A body wrap was also used to help the hawk hold its wing against its body and minimize movement as it heals. The patient was then allowed to recover from the anesthesia.

Post Surgery - Oct 01 2018 3:00 pm

The hawk has recovered from the anesthesia, but still remains a bit out of sorts. It is placed in an enclosure with a nest made from a towel to keep the hawk upright and comfortable. It continues to receive IV fluid therapy.

Bandage Change - Oct 02 2018 11:01 am

The young hawk received its first bandage change following its surgery yesterday. Veterinarians say the surgical site and pins looked clean. They applied a topical antibiotic to help prevent infection and keep the sites clean, then replaced the bandage. The staff also noted that the hawk was much brighter on the front end and was even biting at them, however it is not yet standing.

Standing Up - Oct 03 2018 11:47 am

The red-shouldered hawk was standing in its enclosure this morning when staff arrived to the hospital. The veterinary team plans to begin physical therapy tomorrow on the wing that was pinned. Physical therapy is important to prevent contracture and maintain muscles needed for flight. The hawk was also offered a mouse, but has yet to eat on its own.

Physical Therapy, Bandage Changes - Oct 04 2018 4:50 pm

Veterinarians performed physical therapy this morning on the birds injured wing. For now, it will continue to receive physical therapy every other day. They also changed its bandage, which is a daily occurrence. By the afternoon, the hawk had tore away part of its bandage and it had to be replaced again. It is still not eating on its own when food is left in the enclosure, but is tolerating being tong fed mouse pieces.

Eating on its own - Oct 08 2018 2:54 pm

Veterinary staff stated that over the weekend the hawk has started to eat the food that is left in the enclosure for it, a sign that it feeling better. A re-check of radiographs to determine the progress of healing the bones are making is slated for later this week.

Rehab Continues - Oct 10 2018 9:15 am

The hawk continues to receive bandage changes and physical therapy every three days. Veterinarians have expressed concerns for the hawk re-injuring its wing due to it being reactive to noise around the hospital. To help reduce stress on the hawk, staff has been ordered to remain quiet when in that area of the hospital, only speaking at a whisper.

Fecal Exam - Oct 15 2018 10:23 am

Over the weekend, a fecal sample was collected from the hawk's enclosure. Using this sample, veterinarians were able to check for internal parasites which can be common in wildlife. The test for this hawk was positive for these parasites and the staff was able to provide the hawk with a deworming medication to kill them.

Second Surgery - Oct 16 2018 5:12 pm

Recent radiographs showed that the fracture sites were still unstable and had not started to form a bony callous. A second surgery was performed this morning to remove the intramedullary pins from the ulna and radius, and reconfigure the external fixator using the cross pin already in place and two new cross pins placed on either side of the fracture. This reconfiguration was deemed necessary due to the complicated nature of the fracture. The hawk was also placed in a body wrap to help minimize movement of the wing. Its condition remains guarded, but should improve once bony callous begins to form.