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This little guy's death reminds all of us ...

Unfortunately this brave little Screech owl died overnight.  He was extremely thin, so starvation and dehydration was most likely the cause of his death.  You may wonder why we did not immediately feed him when he was admitted.  If a dehydrated, emaciated raptor is fed immediately upon arrival, it will develop what is called "refeeding syndrome".  It is a complex problem that also occurs in people and other animals.  Simply stated,it is a series of metabolic problems that can lead to death and develop as a result of giving food back to a starving patient.  It sounds counterintuitive to not give food when starvation is the issue, but dehydration and electrolyte imbalances typically go along with starvation.  

So the treatment for little guys like him is to rehydrate them first and then gradually reintroduce food. We begin with tube feeding a liquid diet (Oxbow Carnivore Care) then progress to meat without bone and eventually back to a whole prey diet.  Unfortunately for this little screech owl, he was not found quite soon enough to help him.

This little guy's death reminds all of us of the importance of getting an injured raptor to a rehabilitator as soon as possible.