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20171008 Eastern Screech Owl

Admission Date
Rescue Location
Allen County, IN
Cause of Admission
Left eye injury, fractured beak

Via rescuer Bob Walton: I received a call from Churubusco that a small owl had been found along the road near the intersection of Carroll Rd. and U.S Highway 33.  The bird was rescued by a passerby and transported to the man’s home.  Fortunately, the football games I was watching were irritatingly bad, so I went to pick up the bird.  After getting slightly lost on the myriad of non-thru roads between Huntertown and ‘Busco, I arrived at the house, taunted by the aroma of burgers on the grill.  The owner fetched what turned out to be a grey phase screech owl, which I took straight to Dr. Pat. The initial vet examination is pending. Initial exam by our avian veterinarian:  This eastern screech owl was quiet but alert.  He had a left eye injury with blood in his anterior and posterior chambers of the eye.  He also had a fracture of the left mandible (lower jaw) and beak.  He was started on pain medication and eye ointment.  Fractures of the lower jaw are extremely uncommon and difficult to get to heal. 10/10/2017 Repair of the fractured mandible was performed with dental acrylic.  The acrylic was used to fill in the space inside the front of the beak between the right and left lower jaw.  The jaw is too small to attempt any kind of orthopedic surgery to repair it.  *Note:  Pictures 1 and 2 are from 10/10/2017.  Picture 3 is from 10/16/2017. 10/16/2017 The owl has not been able to eat even tiny pieces of meat on its own.  The tip of the tongue has a abrasion on it.  Today he was put under anesthesia again and the acrylic was ground down to leave a deeper groove for the tongue to ride in.  The lower left jaw/beak appears to have a dark area, hinting of a possible loss of blood supply at the fracture.  If the beak/jaw loses its blood supply, the owl will have to be euthanized. 12/07/2017 He remains very feisty.  He has managed to get the acrylic (the repair for his fractured mandible) off multiple times.  We have replaced it 5 times!  There is some stability at the fracture site, but the prognosis for return to the wild is very guarded. 02/17/2018 After the 5th time this bird had gotten the acrylic off his beak, Pat and Kat decided not to replace it and let it heal on its own.  The beak healed, but there is a slight beak deviation to the left.  This bird was deemed non-releasable and is currently undergoing glove training.  He is doing very well with his training.  He steps up onto the glove almost every time and backs down onto his perch great.