“June 10th Update”
UPDATE: June 10 2008, 5pm by Dr. Dave McRuer, Director of Veterinary Medicine at the Wildlife Center of Virginia:
As the mass on the beak is shrinking in size and the eaglet's white blood cell count was lowered into the range of "normal" for an eagle, Wildlife Center veterinarians decided to remove the antibiotics from the eaglet's treatment regime. After four days, the white blood cells were rechecked; unfortunately, there was again a significant increase in the heterophils - the cells in birds that are involved in the initial defenses against bacteria. For this reason, we believe that a secondary bacterial infection is ongoing, and we have resumed our antibiotic treatment.
The eaglet continues to thrive, although it was extremely hot this past weekend with the unseasonable heat here in Waynesboro [highs in the mid to upper 90s.] To help cool the bird, we've placed a fan near the enclosure that ensures air circulation.
The patient has also gone back to not eating on his own. If the food (mice these days) is placed in his mouth, he has no issues with swallowing. However, the bird lacks initiative to open his mouth and actually take the food. Daily weight continues to increase, and a new dosage of pain medications is being considered.
We are close to finalizing surgery for the patient and we are hoping to nail down the date by the end of the week. There have been lots of consults with some of the best avian surgeons in the country, and we feel privileged that the veterinary community has responded favorably. While waiting for surgery, the mass continues to shrink, and this will make the operation less risky.