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Red-tailed Hawk receives skin graft to treat burn

Posted by thunsdorfer at Mar 20, 2015 04:55 PM |
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March 19, 2015: This Red-tailed Hawk had no visible signs of injury when it was first admitted to the Wildlife Care Center in December 2014, but after two days, a large wound began to open up on its left leg. The cause of this slow-moving injury pattern? Electrocution.

Red-tailed Hawk receives skin graft to treat burn

Red-tailed Hawk receives treatment in the Wildlife Care Center - Tinsley Hunsdorfer

This Red-tailed Hawk had no visible signs of injury when it was first admitted to the Wildlife Care Center in December 2014, but after two days, a large wound began to open up on its left leg. The cause of this slow-moving injury pattern? Electrocution.

The hawk had been found tangled in a power line in Vancouver, Wash., and was then brought to the Audubon Society of Portland by Clarke County Public Utility District workers. Electrical companies are still working to make power lines safe for wildlife – this bird became tangled in a line that hadn’t yet been retrofitted.

After three months of treatment at the Wildlife Care Center, the hawk is starting to show signs of improvement, but its prognosis is still guarded. Staff veterinarian Deb Sheaffer was able to cover part of the bird’s burn with a skin graft – she pulled healthy skin down from the hawk’s upper leg – but skin has to naturally knit together over the remainder of the wound, a lengthy process.

In the meantime, care center staff and volunteers clean the burn and change its dressing every day; the hawk also receives regular doses of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication. We’re still a long way from knowing whether or not the bird will be able to make a full recovery.

Donate Now ButtonTreating animals with complex and long-running conditions requires time and resources – please consider making a donation to help us care for this Red-tailed Hawk and other wild animals in need of medical treatment.

Wildlife Care Center operations manager Lacy Campbell removes a dressing from a Red-tailed Hawk’s burned leg – Tinsley Hunsdorfer
Wildlife Care Center operations manager Lacy Campbell removes a dressing from a Red-tailed Hawk’s burned leg – Tinsley Hunsdorfer
Wildlife Care Center operations manager Lacy Campbell wraps a Red-tailed Hawk’s burned leg – Tinsley Hunsdorfer
Wildlife Care Center operations manager Lacy Campbell wraps a Red-tailed Hawk’s burned leg – Tinsley Hunsdorfer
Wildlife Care Center operations manager Lacy Campbell and Portland Community College vet tech intern ‎Laura Hershberger remove a wrapping from a Red-tailed Hawk’s burned leg – Tinsley Hunsdorfer
Wildlife Care Center operations manager Lacy Campbell and Portland Community College vet tech intern ‎Laura Hershberger remove a wrapping from a Red-tailed Hawk’s burned leg – Tinsley Hunsdorfer
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