Golden Eagle Treated for Lead Ingestion
Golden Eagle 2.9.22 was rescued and transported by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department through the Raptor Rescue Network, after being hit by a vehicle near Evanston, WY. The bird was X-rayed upon arriving at Teton Raptor Center and staff noticed a fractured coracoid in the left wing. This is a bone found around the shoulder, that tends to heal well with cage rest.
The more alarming concern noticed in the X-ray were several fragments of lead that were observed in the bird’s stomach. In addition to exhibiting clinical symptoms of lead toxicosis, a blood lead test confirmed that the eagle did in fact have lead poisoning.
The bird began chelation therapy, a rigorous treatment that requires injectable medication that binds to lead and attempts to remove it from the body. Additionally, the bird was given a concoction of Manuka honey and Epsom salt on bites of food for three days. This special diet was given to encourage the metal in the stomach to bind with the ingredients and be expelled in a pellet, since eagles can’t digest fur from their prey.
To our delight, the honey and salt mixture worked! Six days later, the eagle coughed up a pellet that not only was large in size, but contained several fragments of lead. This eagle is not out of the woods yet. The bird will require a follow-up blood lead test, and a second round of X-rays to determine the next steps of treatment and care while at TRC.