UQ veterinary clinic working to ensure eagle soars again
2 June 2015
A wedge-tailed eagle rescued from a roadside is thought to have survived an attempt to domesticate her by removing her talons and a toe. University of Queensland specialist avian veterinarian Associate Professor Bob Doneley is caring for the juvenile bird at UQ’s Gatton Campus.
Dr Doneley said Eva the eagle was rescued by a farmer and the Granite Belt Wildlife Carers group and initially was treated at Stanthorpe Veterinary Care Services.
“It appears someone may have tried to domesticate Eva by cutting her talons to keep her from scratching or injuring when handled by humans,” Dr Doneley said.
“As a result, both her feet were swollen and painful and her left hallux—the big toe at the back—has been clipped so short that the last bone in the toe has been cut off and her right hock joint is mildly unstable.”
Unable to use her right foot, Eva was standing mostly on her left foot, where she had developed pressure sores from the stress.
Dr Doneley, one of only two bird medicine specialists in Queensland, consulted with Professor Patrick Redig of the University of Minnesota Raptor Centre, a world leader in the treatment of this type of bird.
“We are treating Eva with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs,” the UQ avian veterinarian associate professor said.
“We have bandaged her feet so she can’t stand on them, to try and take the weight off and allow them to heal.
“She is on a thick foam mattress, and is being fed twice daily with her medications hidden in her food.
“She will need hospital care for six to eight weeks, followed by six to twelve months of rehabilitation, before she can be released back into the wild.”
Staff at the centre are dealing with a rising number of injured wildlife cases.
“They are brought in after collisions with cars or attacks by cats, dogs or feral animals,” Dr Doneley said.
“We also regularly see evidence of human attempts at domestication, despite the protection of these animals by legislation.
“These attempts often result in the serious injury or death of the animals.”
The UQ Veterinary Medical Centre receives no government funding to treat injured wildlife, and relies on community donations and in-kind support.
UQ Veterinary School’s Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) program
Program title: Bachelor of Veterinary Science Location: Gatton, Queensland Semester intake: February Program duration: 5 years Application deadline:UQ Veterinary School has a general application deadline of November 30; however, it is strongly recommended that students apply a minimum of three months prior to the program’s start date.
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