Thursday, January 20, 2011


On October 19th the Wildlife in Need Center admitted a Great Horned Owl. She had been caught in a net covering a pen to a duck and chicken coop at a farm in Watertown. It was quite obvious that she had been caught for most of the night since she came to us dehydrated and her right leg was completely degloved from struggling to get free. Her leg and foot were swollen to twice the normal size and both the tendon and muscle were exposed. After arriving, staff flushed and scrubbed her leg clean. She was then given antibiotics and pain medication to get her through the night. The prognosis for her leg to recover was not good. To top it all off she had an old injury in her left eye that seemed to be effecting her ability to see as well as an owl should. However, she was in excellent weight condition which means she was still eating quite well considering her pre-existing eye injury and it would also be a big help to her body during recovery.

Staff worked at cleaning and scrubbing her foot once a day, everyday for several months. Although it did not look promising for the first month, we continued trying out new tactics to keep her wounds clean and covered to prevent infection. Eventually, with the help of one of our volunteer vets, Dr. Nicki, we started to see some slow improvement.

Warning: the following pictures graphically depict the healing process of this patient.

This series of pictures shows her leg injury from when she arrived to its final healing this week.

11-8-10: Three weeks after arriving.

11-17-10: One month after arriving.

11-28-10: After beginning new topical antibiotic.

12-20-10: Only scabs left!

1-20-11: Wound completely healed!

Finally her leg has completely healed. Now all she needs is to grow in some new feathers on that leg to help her keep warm in this cold Wisconsin weather.

For a while longer now she will work on covering her leg with new feathers. Meanwhile, we will be making an appointment for her with one of Wisconsin’s animal eye experts. Now that her leg injury has a good prognosis, we can focus our attention on making sure her eye injury is not causing her pain and that in fact she can see well enough to be released.

Cross your fingers for her and hopefully you will be hearing about her release soon!

Guest Blogger M.F.

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