DOI: 10.1111/avj.13284 ISSN:

Successful rehabilitation and release of a powerful owl chick with suspected rodenticide poisoning

R Cooke, N Carter, J Groves, N Scarfe, P Mason, JG White
  • General Veterinary
  • General Medicine

The successful rehabilitation and release of raptor chicks can be challenging, especially when the chicks are still in the post‐fledging dependency period. Here, we report on a recently fledged powerful owl chick that was held in care for 33 days before being successfully reunited with its parents. We document the steps undertaken during the entire process from collection from the wild to post‐release monitoring and recommend clinical procedures for treatment of raptors entering veterinary facilities. Success of this rehabilitation was facilitated by early care and treatment for potential rodenticide poisoning, as well as the integration of citizen scientists monitoring the family unit in the field while the chick was in care and during the post‐release period. Given the emerging evidence of widespread rodenticide poisoning in raptors both in Australia and globally, it is critical to suspect all raptors may have been exposed to anticoagulant rodenticides and commence treatment with vitamin K immediately. Routine treatment for rodenticides early increases the probability of successful recovery post‐trauma as well as reducing the time in treatment as much as possible.

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