Think Wild and Bend Animal Emergency and Specialty Center Partner to Save Golden Eagle

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Last Sunday, Think Wild staff met at the wildlife hospital facility on the east side of Bend at 7 AM to capture and transport a 8.5 lb, almost 4 ft tall golden eagle across town. Dr. Adam Stone of Bend Animal Emergency and Specialty Center met the team at the vet clinic to intake the eagle and outline next steps for the risky, yet essential procedure to follow.

Bend Wildlife Hospital, Think Wild, has been treating a golden eagle with an injured shoulder since May 14, 2021. The rescuer found the eagle hopping on some rocks alongside a road near Tumalo, and figuring it was an injured vulture, approached to find that instead the large bird was a golden eagle unable to fly. Fortunately, having prior raptor handling experience, he threw his coat over the eagle to contain and drive the bird to Think Wild.

Upon intake, Think Wild staff performed X-rays to discover that the eagle suffered from a left ulna, or wing “forearm” fracture. Think Wild veterinarian, Dr. Laura Acevedo, prescribed anti-inflammatory, pain and antibiotic medications, and a wing wrap to stabilize the fracture along with four weeks of restricted activity and rest.

On June 8, the eagle graduated to a larger enclosure to encourage self-feeding and passive stretching. Treatments and regular X-ray rechecks continued – now also including bi-weekly laser and physical therapy sessions to target the wing injury. After another full month of care outside, staff hoped that the eagle would be ready for a test flight. But upon first attempt, it was painfully clear that the eagle had not recovered as the large raptor swiftly dropped to the ground.

After the failed test flight, Dr. Naomi Kitagaki and Dr. Adam Stone of Bend Animal Emergency and Specialty Center (BAE) generously offered Think Wild a computed tomography (CT) scan for the eagle, valued at over $1,300. The scan would not only help determine the best outcome for the golden eagle, but also provide a valuable learning experience in wildlife veterinary medicine for both the Center and Think Wild staff alike.

“We were ecstatic for the opportunity to help both a great organization and a magnificent creature,” said Dr. Stone. “Many veterinarians become interested in the profession through their connection with wildlife, so we felt passionate about assisting Think Wild’s cause. We hope that this experience will be the beginning of a wonderful collaborative relationship between Think Wild and BAE.”

The hour-long CT scan and procedure required anesthesia for the eagle, led by Think Wild’s Dr. Acevedo. All went smoothly and the scan has been sent off for a graciously donated review by the Exotic Animal Medicine Service (EAMS) at the North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine. Think Wild and BAE staff eagerly await the results.

“We’re lucky to have the capability to pursue advanced diagnostics and develop this partnership with Bend Animal Emergency,” said Dr. Acevedo. “With all of the energy and time we have put into treating this eagle, we hope for a good outcome. Even if we have to make a tough call if he is non-releasable, we have done everything medically possible to give him the best chance and hope to continue doing so for all local wildlife.”

Golden Eagles are large, soaring raptors that are common in Oregon east of the Cascade Range. They inhabit open county and mountainous terrain and prey upon small and medium-sized mammals, birds and reptiles. Golden eagles are protected in the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Act.

If you ever have any questions, Think Wild’s wildlife hotline, (541) 241-8680, is available seven days a week from 8 AM to 5 PM. Think Wild is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and tax-deductible donations can be made at www.thinkwildco.org/donate or mailed to PO Box 5093 Bend, OR 97708.