How Did We Get Off the Goo?

Many people have been curious about the way we at International Bird Rescue were able to clean the birds affected by the San Francisco Bay Mystery Goo Spill in January 2015.

Article  Information sheet 

Basic Information Sheet: European Hedgehog

The European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) is one of the most common species seen in wildlife rehabilitation in western Europe. Hedgehogs are potential carriers of zoonotic disease. Ringworm infection caused by Trichophyton mentagrophytes is the most commonly contracted zoonosis of wildlife rehabilitators in the United Kingdom. Other important medical conditions include ectoparasites infestations, gastrointestinal disease caused by Salmonella enteritidits or coccidiosis as well as bronchopneumonia associated with bacterial and/or lungworm infection.

Use our European hedgehog Information Sheet to review taxonomy, conservation status, physical description, diet and housing needs, anatomy and physiology, preventive care as well as important medical conditions. Login to view information sheet references.

Article 

Sea Turtle Physical Examination Part 1: Eyes-Ears-Nose-Throat

Authored by experts in the field: Terry Norton, DACZM, Director/Founder of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, and Jeanette Wyneken, PhD, this article is part of a unique series on sea turtle veterinary medicine and wildlife rehabilitation. Physical examination of the head and neck are covered including eyes, adnexa, ears, nares, beak, the oral exam, throat, and cervical vertebrae. Normal findings that reflect adaptations to a marine lifestyle are reviewed and unique findings seen in green (Chelonia mydas), flatback (Natator depressus), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempi), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), and olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) turtles are discussed. LOGIN to view references.

Article 

Sea Turtle Physical Examination: Part 2

Part of a unique series on sea turtle veterinary medicine and wildlife rehabilitation, this article explores many components of the sea turtle physical exam. Evaluation of the shell is discussed in both cheloniids and leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea) as well as assessment of the cardiopulomonary system, skin, long bones and joints, cloaca and tail. Evaluation of the coelom by inguinal palpation is described as well as measurement of body temperature. Specialized testing such as neurologic and in-water examinations are also described. Common physical examination findings like fibropapillomas in green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and epibiota in loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) are also discussed. LOGIN to view references.

Article 

Body Condition Scoring the Sea Turtle

Weight trends can be a helpful indicator of hydration and nutritional status in veterinary medicine and wildlife rehabilitation settings. This article explores body weight and body measurements in the green (Chelonia mydas), flatback (Natator depressus), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempi), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), and olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) turtle. Subjective and objective body condition scoring systems used during physical examination are described and examples ranging from emaciation to obesity are illustrated. The relationship between carapace length and sea turtle sexual maturity is also discussed. LOGIN to view references.

Article 

Sea Turtle Restraint

Sea turtles are adapted to their marine environment, and they possess unique anatomic and physiologic features that influence their restraint and handling in a veterinary medicine or wildlife rehabilitation setting. Techniques for handing small and large sea turtles are described as well as recommendations for handling aides and cautions to prevent iatrogenic injury. LOGIN to view references.

Article 

Ten Things Every Avian Veterinarian Should Know about Conservation Medicine

Birds are in trouble worldwide. One in eight bird species are threatened with extinction, and even common species are declining. Only species able to flourish in altered habitats or supported by intervention techniques have stable or improving populations. Notable successes in North America include the California condor, bald eagle, whooping crane, peregrine falcon, and the Puerto Rican parrot. These species could not have increased in number over the last two decades without the perseverance and diligence of interdisciplinary conservation teams. There are many conservation teams that can use your avian veterinary medical skills and experience…

Article 

Ten Things You Can Do to Promote Avian Conservation

If you have skills in fundraising, publicity, graphic design, translation, photography and video recording, editing and writing, website design, biology, climbing, handling birds, or medical care of birds you may find a spot in the field, or working remotely as part of the support staff.

Article 

Supplies for the Avian Conservation Medicine Field Kit

If you are planning to participate in avian conservation fieldwork, this list should serve as a starting point. Refine your own list by learning what is already available amongst other team members and in the region.

Article 

Raptor Ophthalmology: The Ophthalmic Exam

In many birds, the eye is the most important sensory organ, and even partial impairment of vision has far-reaching consequences. Unfortunately, ocular lesions are a common finding during ophthalmic examination in birds of prey.

Article 

Raptor Ophthalmology: Ocular Lesions

The large size of the raptor eye and its relative lack of orbital protection superiorly and laterally means any form of head trauma frequently involves the eye and its associated structures. In one report, ocular injuries were most commonly caused by vehicular collision, gunshot and leghold traps. The most common clinical finding in birds of prey presented for medical attention is hyphema. Trauma may also lead to…

Article 

Raising Orphaned Raptors

Imprinting is an important, natural part of a young animal’s development where it learns to recognize its own species. Imprinting utilizes the senses of sight, touch, and sound. Imprinting via sound probably begins in the egg during the pip-to-hatch stage when the parent and chick vocalize back and forth. After hatching, sight becomes an important factor in imprinting as the chick’s visual ability improves. The chick associates the images it sees with the sounds and tactile sensations with which it is already familiar.

It is not enough to prevent imprinting on humans…

Article 

Falconry Vocabulary Terms

Is your comfort level with free-ranging raptor medicine and surgery growing, but you feel a bit unnerved by falconers and falconry lingo? Although the definitions for some falconry terms are intuitive, many modern falconry words are French in origin and their meanings may not be immediately obvious. You will feel more comfortable “talking the talk” after you review our falconry vocabulary list…

Article 

Raptor Anatomy: Ten Key Facts

If you are comfortable with psittacine anatomy and physiology, then you are well on your way to understanding raptors, however there are countless features that make this taxonomic group unique. LafeberVet has focused on ten amazing and clinically significant facts on bird of prey anatomy.

Article 

Zoonotic concern: Tularemia in Rabbits and Rodents

Tularemia is a highly pathogenic disease of animals and humans that has been reported throughout the northern hemisphere including North America, Europe, and Asia. In the United States, naturally occurring infections have been reported in all states except Hawaii.

Article  Slideshow 

Waterfowl Commonly Seen in Practice

Waterfowl are commonly encountered in clinical practice as backyard fowl, pets, zoo specimens, or as injured wildlife. Waterfowl belong to Family Anatidae, which includes swans, geese, and ducks. Ducks are divided into two categories: dabbling ducks and diving ducks…

Article 

Heavy Metal Poisoning in Birds

Heavy metal poisoning in birds most commonly occurs from ingestion of substances containing lead, or less commonly zinc. Acute heavy metal toxicity is occasionally seen in companion parrots that ingest or chew on objects containing metal because of their curious nature and innate desire to forage. Chronic lead poisoning most frequently affects free-ranging wildlife such as ducks, geese, swans and loons and is most commonly seen during migration in the late fall and early spring. Lead toxicity also occasionally occurs in upland game birds such as mourning doves, wild turkey, pheasants and quail. Lead poisoning has also been reported in raptors, presumably from the ingestion of lead-contaminated prey.

Article 

Spinal Injuries in Birds

Traumatic injury is the most common reason for admission of wild birds to rehabilitation centers. Spinal injuries in birds are particularly problematic, as they are incredibly difficult to diagnose, localize, and manage.

Unique anatomic features of the avian spine…

Article 

Salmonellosis in Songbirds – Five Key Facts

It is important for animal health care professionals to recognize the potential hazards of working with passerine birds so that appropriate measures can be taken to minimize the risk of contracting disease. Wild bird isolates of Salmonella enterica serotype typhimurium may not represent a large zoonotic risk to the general population, however the vast majority of sick and dying songbirds harbor this microbe.

Article 

Are Canada Goose Populations a Public Health Concern?

Unlike many waterfowl species, Canada geese tend to travel further from water to feed. In turn, this allows birds to spread their feces over large areas. While feeding, one Canada goose can produce approximately one dropping per minute. Total daily fecal production may reach approximately 2 pounds or more of waste per goose.

Article 

Songbird Housing Checklist

When hospitalizing any wildlife patient, the goal should always be to transfer the animal to an experienced, licensed wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible. In the meantime, it is imperative that the passerine bird be housed appropriately to promote recovery and prevent injury.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Shell Fractures in Chelonians

Shell fractures are one of the more common presentations of order Chelonia to the private exotic animal practitioner. Shell fractures are frequently caused by vehicular trauma, lawn mowers, predation by dogs and raccoons, or drops from balconies or porches.

Often seen as a “chronic” issue, having occurred days before they present, shell fractures need to be treated as an emergency situation and dealt with both as a localized and as a systemic problem. In this presenting problem article, key points of urgent care are described as well as general case management.

Information sheet 

Basic Information Sheet: Cottontail Rabbit

Cottontail rabbits eat a wide variety of plant foods including grasses, sedges, sprouts, leaves, fruits, buds, and bark. During the summer months, cottontails primarily eat grasses, legumes, succulent annuals, weeds, as well as the occasional garden vegetable. The winter diet includes small grains, as well as twigs, bark, and buds of shrubs and trees. Favorite food items often include white and crimson clover, Bahia grass, and green succulent vegetation like alfalfa, wheat, barley, ryegrass, and winter peas.
A captive diet frequently consists of…

Client Education Handout 

Orphaned Wildlife: Mammals

Cottontail rabbits hide their nests in plain view in the middle of a lawn, in brush piles, or long grass…

Client Education Handout 

Cats Indoors

Every year, cats kill hundreds of millions of birds in the United States alone. Download the American Bird Conservancy PDF brochure that advises clients on the best way to protect birds and cats.

Client Education Handout 

Bats and Rabies

A public health guide on bats and rabies by Bat Conservation International.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Aural Abscess in Turtles

The turtle ear is a simple structure that sits caudoventral to the eye covered by a large scale called the tympanic scute. As in many reptiles, the external ear is absent in chelonians. The tympanic membrane sits flush against the skin just underneath the tympanic scute. There is one ossicle, the columella, which crosses the large tympanic cavity to insert medially on the oval window of the cochlea. A narrow Eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the oropharynx.

Aural abscesses are well-encapsulated, caseous plugs that slowly develop until it fills the tympanic cavity. The cause of aural abscessation is not completely understood…

Article 

Zoonotic concern: Rabies in Terrestrial Small Mammals

All mammals are considered to be susceptible to rabies although susceptibility appears to vary by species and viral variant. Rabies is exceedingly rare among small wild mammals and exotic pets. Among rodents in the United States, rabies is most commonly reported in…

Article 

The Snapping Turtle – Tips for the Practitioner

At the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, previously the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre, we encourage private practices, emergency clinics, and rehabilitation centers to aid in the initial treatment of these injured turtles. We admit turtles from across the province, and it is extremely beneficial to the turtle to get immediate care locally before transfer. Snapping turtles are incredible in their ability to heal (albeit slowly!) and we cannot stress enough that the injuries can appear horrific, and yet can go on to heal, with subsequent release of the turtle back into the wild…

Article 

Basic Husbandry: Hospitalizing the Sea Turtle

Debilitated sea turtles are often too weak to be housed in water upon presentation to a veterinary medicine or wildlife rehabilitation setting. Instead these patients are maintained on a padded surface or waterbed. Once the turtle is stronger, it should ideally be transferred to a rehabilitation tank. LOGIN to view references.

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Anticoagulant Rodenticide Toxicosis in Free-Living Birds of Prey

Why is this bird bleeding? Anticoagulant rodenticide exposure in birds of prey has been documented in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Anticoagulant rodenticides have been commonly used over the past decades for control of rodent populations and these rodenticides can cause toxicosis in birds of prey via consumption of poisoned prey.

Anticoagulant rodenticides are divided into two categories: first generation rodenticides like warfarin and second generation rodenticides, such as brodifacoum. Second generation anticoagulant rodenticides are more toxic and also have…

Article 

Waterfowl Housing Checklist

Waterfowl that require hospitalization may come from a variety of settings, however the basic approach to waterfowl patients remains the same. When hospitalizing any waterfowl patient, there are a number of basic facts to keep in mind…

Article 

Austral Peregrine Falcons in Patagonia, Argentina

The Austral or Patagonian peregrine falcon is one of the less known subspecies of this falcon worldwide, found along the Andes Mountains, Patagonian steppes and seacoasts of southern South America. The current conservation status of this falcon in Argentina is completely unknown and studies about its health status are lacking. Many species of raptors, including peregrine falcons, are globally threatened by human persecution, reduction in the availability of prey, use of pesticides, collisions with power lines and illegal commerce…

Article 

Restraint of Wild Birds

In the best of captive situations, wild birds are still subject to significant stress. This is particularly true during phases of rehabilitation that require frequent capture and treatment. Experience with individual patients will dictate your approach to capture and restraint, but be aware that a slow, careful approach to capture followed by restriction of vision during restraint will generally yield best results.