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I always say that you learn a lot about cars if you have one that doesn't run very well. The same can be said about owl health: you learn a lot when they aren't healthy.

Rusty the Great Horned Owl is still slowly healing. After six weeks in a dog carrier, however, he had had enough. When I took him out so Hein could clean the carrier and put down a fresh astroturf mat, Rusty wriggled through my arms and out in the breeding pen. In a way it was a good thing so we could see how well HE could see. I was absolutely elated to see him fly up to a perch!! While his vision certainly isn't perfect, he can fly from perch to perch, which is FANTASTIC! He has more trouble seeing when it is very, very dark, and I have to catch him in a net to treat him now, but now he can be free and we can observe him on the live cameras again. We did close the door to the flight pen, however, so he and Iris are separated. This allows us to continue to give Rusty medicated food.

Click here to see Rusty's jail break video.

A recent checkup showed the Rusty's corneal ulcer had only healed a small amount in the past month. The medication on his food, however, hinders the healing of the ulcer so we are reducing that medication in hopes his ulcer will heal on its own. Otherwise he needs to be anesthesia and a minor surgery to help it heal. An ultrasound of his eye revealed the "gunk" in the lower portion of the back of his eye and a slight cataract in his lens. Keep heling, Rusty!

Uhu the Eurasian Eagle Owl is still undergoing treatment for her blepharitis. A culture revealed that it was being caused by a bacteria that causes pink eye in cattle, so theoretically a fly transmitted it from a cow to Uhu. (How, we're not sure, since are owls are in screened aviaries and only a random fly follows us humans in.) At any rate, we have a specially compounded ointment to apply to her eye four times per day. Her eye is responding slowly but surely, and she will begin work when it is healed.


Mitzy the fledgling Tawny Owl was an absolute puzzle. After 10 days of the top vets at the University of Minnesota Raptor Center working with her, they simply could not figure out why her kidneys or intestines were not working. After much discussion with many people, with very heavy hearts we made the decision to let her go. The gross necropsy did not give any good answers, other than we already knew her kidneys were grossly enlarged and she had no intestinal blockage. The microscopic necropsy is only partially completed and may or may not yield answers. Rest in peace, dear little Mitzy.



Last modified on Monday, 17 August 2015 18:29

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Rusty's Jail Break

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