Burrowing Owl #19-1866

Burrowing Owl #19-1866
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May 14 2019

Burrowing owl nesting season typically runs from the middle of February through the middle of July. As the young owls emerge from the burrow, they spend a few weeks mastering flying skills. During this period, they can be susceptible to predator attacks and being struck by vehicles.

On May 14, a juvenile burrowing owl was admitted from Cape Coral. It suffered a fractured leg and fractured wing as the result of a trauma, likely an impact from a vehicle. Surgeries will be required to stabilize the fractures.

Status Updates

Surgery Plan - May 15 2019 9:16 am

Veterinarians planned to perform surgery on the broken leg first as it needed the most attention and would be most critical for this species to heal. The surgery will be performed this morning and depending on how the owl does with the first surgery, a second one will be planned to address the fractured wing.

Leg Surgery - May 15 2019 2:53 pm

Veterinarians were able to successfully place three pins (one IM pin and two crosspins) with an external fixation to stabilize the bone. In a few days, the IM pin will be removed and the crosspins left in place. Veterinarians are also hopeful that a second surgery to repair the injured wing will not be necessary because only one of the two bones (birds have a radius and ulna in their wing similar to a human forearm) is fractured. With the other bone intact to stabilize it, the fracture should heal with time and keeping the wing immobilized in a wrap. They will closely monitor both injuries to ensure they heal properly. The owl's prognosis is guarded at this time.

Post-Surgery Care - May 16 2019 4:00 pm

Following surgery to pin the broken leg, veterinarians placed a catheter to be able to deliver fluid therapy to help the owl recover. It continued to receive fluids today and also received a bandage change. The team noted that its leg was still swollen, which was to be expected after surgery, but that it was otherwise bright and alert. Its wing wrap remains in place.

Bandage Change - May 21 2019 2:44 pm

The young owl received a bandage change for the surgery leg earlier today. Veterinarians noted that the swelling had reduced and that the skin looked much better than it did at the last bandage change, which have occurred daily since its surgery. Veterinary staff have also been regularly changing the figure-8 bandage that is immobilizing the injured wing along with performing physical therapy for the injuries. The young owl was observed eating mealworms in its enclosure, but has yet to graduate to more sustaining food items. Assisted feeds are used to help it maintain its weight.