MEMPHIS, TENN - It’s not every day that one the greatest symbols of America, the bald eagle, arrives at Memphis Zoo. Unfortunately, one such eagle’s recent arrival at the Zoo did not call for celebration.
On January 29, an injured bald eagle was brought to Memphis Zoo’s onsite animal hospital for treatment. It was believed the eagle had been hit by a vehicle and suffered multiple fractures that punctured through the skin on its right wing.
Senior Veterinarian Dr. Felicia Knightly and her team got to work right away assessing and treating the eagle. However, time was not on their side as it had been several days since the bird first sustained injuries.
“Any fracture that isn’t stabilized as soon as it happens has the propensity to get worse,” said Dr. Felicia Knightly. “You can end up with permanent damage of soft tissue—and it’s amazingly painful, so the bird also remains in a state of shock.”
Dr. Knightly was able to briefly anesthetize the bird in order to examine and stabilize it by administering fluids, antibiotics and pain killers.
After further assessment of the bird’s injuries, it was decided that the eagle would not be able to fly again and, in order to give it the best quality of life possible, an amputation was necessary.
One week after the eagle arrived at Memphis Zoo, Dr. Knightly performed a partial amputation of the injured wing. This was done according to federal regulations regarding such procedures on protected birds.
Since then, the bald eagle has been monitored closely and continues to recover well. All along, the bird has been eating well, which Dr. Knightly says has helped her recovery tremendously.
While the bird continues to recover at Memphis Zoo’s animal hospital, Dr. Knightly and Zoo hospital staff are very optimistic that this special bald eagle will have a healthy and happy life going forward.