A Common Loon, our patient of the week, was rescued with a fish hook injury and is in care at our San Francisco Bay Center.
The Loon was found stranded in Fort Ord near Monterey, CA on May 1st. It was captured by our colleagues at the SPCA for Monterey County. The underweight but alert and active bird was transferred to us for further care and management of its fishing hook injuries.
This week our staff veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr, performed surgery to remove infected tissue from the bird’s foot. Normally she prefers to wait until a bird’s plumage is fully waterproof before performing foot surgery, but this bird’s toe was already very badly infected so she opted to do the procedure right away.
Fish hook injuries often seem innocuous, but unfortunately, this is something we see far too often. A simple poke with a dirty fish hook may skewer tendons or joints and lead to terrible infections like in this bird. As shown in the photographs, fish hooks that puncture toes often cause osteomyelitis (bone infections) and cause adjacent bone to be eaten away by bacteria. Fish hook infections may also lead to systemic infections affecting the entire bird.
As of today this beautiful bird is mostly waterproof and out swimming in our pools. Current therapy includes antibiotics, pain medication, and lots of tasty fish.
Note: International Bird Rescue treats 5,000 injured and sick aquatic birds each year. We rely on the generosity of the public to help fund our bird care at both California centers. Please Adopt-a-Loon