A few months ago we received a very wet and unhappy Great Horned Owl. He had a severe mouth infection that stemmed from bacteria, fungus and parasites! Not surprisingly, it prevented him from eating. As a result, when he was rescued he was very weak and thin.
This also prevented him from doing one of the most bird-like things:
When a bird preens, they bring oil from their preen gland at the base of their tail and coat their feathers, thus, waterproofing the themselves.
This is essential to their survival. Without the ability to preen, the feathers easily become wet and soggy in the rain, lose their ability to insulate and retain heat, ward off parasites, and essentially maintain healthy bird hygiene.
This bird's treatment began with the removal of all the
flesh in his mouth.
It took three different kinds of medications to treat him, one of which had to be swabbed all over his mouth. Danni SeCheverell, a registered veterinary technician, and her husband dedicated their time to his intense daily treatment over the course of several weeks!
When he was no longer in critical condition, he was moved to a
where our daily animal care teams gave him medicine in his food for an additional three weeks.
His infection finally cleared up and he was left to the creance crew to get back into flying condition. After being out of commission for so many weeks, he needed to exercise and rebuild stamina before he was ready to make it on his own in the wild.
We try to return an adult raptor to the area it came from. A bird is most likely to know the hunting area and might even have a mate waiting for it!