SANIBEL, Fla. — After being found in the middle of the highway, an adult barn owl has been named the 5,000th patient of the year to be admitted to the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife.
CROW said the animal was found by a civilian and was taken to Clewiston Animal Control before it was transferred to CROW's wildlife hospital for treatment.
CROW said once the owl arrived, staff members examined the owl finding it was thin "with evidence of trauma including bruising on its right wing and a corneal ulcer of the right eye."
The rehabilitation clinic said the owl also wasn't very responsive to its surroundings.
"Head trauma can cause a life-threatening increase in pressure around the brain which often manifests as this decreased awareness of surroundings," said Dr. Robin Bast, CROW's staff veterinarian. "These findings are consistent with blunt force trauma such as being hit by a car.
CROW said its staff placed an intravenous catheter to give fluids and medication to the owl in order to reduce any swelling around the brain. The owl was then housed in a specialized cage providing supplemental oxygen. Staff administered topical medications three times a day to the owl to treat the corneal ulcer.
“The morning after being admitted, the owl was slightly more alert, but remained quiet,” says Dr. Bast. “We provided another round of fluid therapy and by the third day, the owl had stabilized. We moved it out of the supplemental oxygen and took a full set of radiographs which thankfully did not show any fractures.”
CROW said the owl is still in intensive care, however, veterinarians removed the catheter but are still administering pain medication. Because the owl is unable to eat on its own, staff members are providing assisted feeding to the animal three times a day, according to the clinic.
The clinic said it is optimistic the owl "will continue to gradually improve."
As for the number of patients at CROW, the clinic said it has seen about an 8% increase in patient totals this year. Back in 2019, the clinic said it saw a record number of patients at 5,336.
Since 2014, CROW said patient admissions have increased by more than 50%.
"With all that has happened in 2020, it's certainly no surprise that we are once again surpassing our record for patient admissions,” said Alison Charney Hussey, Executive Director for CROW.
To find out more information about CROW, click here.