Surgery on an American Icon

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

In a small surgical suite, at the San Antonio veterinary clinic of Dr. Melissa Hill, an injured bald eagle is prepped for surgery to repair a badly fractured wing.

What we’re doing Is taking the sling off his wing. He’s spent most of this last week eating, and on antibiotics, and is now in much better shape to handle the surgery than he was when he first came in.

Dr. Hill removes feathers from the anesthetized animal’s wing, and disinfects the area before beginning the procedure.

This blue thing we put across the top is called a drape. And it shields the area that I’m going to be working on from feathers and danger and dirt and things that are floating around.

Once she makes the incision, she sees the fracture.

Okay, so what we’ve got sticking out here is part of the bone. This goes from the elbow, up from the shoulder. The problem is that it’s healing in two separate pieces instead of healing together.

She trims the new growth, and reconnects the fractured pieces with a pin, then closes the incision.

So, we’ve got the end of this pin sticking out through the bone over here, at the back of the elbow. Just cut it off even. This will stay in four to six weeks, probably; if it’s good then we’ll pull the pin out.

Physical therapy is next, and Dr. Hill says the eagle may remain grounded for up to eight months. We’ll have updates as they are available.

That’s our show… we had help today from Karen Loke…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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