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Winter Bald Eagle Vet Exams
March 14, 2023

Even the mightiest birds under our care have routine health exams to ensure they remain in great shape. For the bald eagles, Sequoia, Sucia, Salish, and Cheveyo, this was preventative medicine in action. Having healthy birds allows Head Veterinarian Dr. Allison Case to focus on their continued wellness. 

Keepers and the veterinary staff work seamlessly together to take each eagle to the veterinary clinic for exams. It’s a two-day process, and the team starts with Salish and Sucia. Sequoia and Cheveyo have their exams on the second day.

Each bird traveled to the clinic fully awake, and after a careful, giant “hug” from Keepers Wendi and Becky, the eagle received anesthesia. The “hug” is a comfortable position for the eagle, allowing the team to start their exam safely. Keeping their eyes covered makes an incredible difference in helping the birds relax and stay calm.

Vet and Keeper holding eagle in preparation for exam

Once the anesthesia has gone into effect, the exam can begin. The team will start out by documenting weight and checking that their ID transponder microchip is fully functional.

The keeper team beginning bald eagle exam.

The team takes a close look at their feet and notes anything that stands out. For all birds, their talons will be trimmed and conditioned.

Eagle talons being trimmed

Like their talons, their beaks are also trimmed, smoothed and conditioned. Since the eagles have an excellent, nutrient-rich diet, their nails and beaks can often grow longer than they would in the wild. 

Beak examination by Head Veterinarian Dr. Allison Case

Each bird gets its turn on the table for x-rays. Dr. Case and Veterinary Technician Tracy examine for any issues. 

Finishing up, each eagle has their wings inspected, a mouth, eye and ear exam, West Nile Virus vaccine and a preventative spray for parasites. 

Vet Tech Tracy doing blood draw during exam

close up of eagle eye during exam

Dr. Allison Case wraps up the wellness exam and proclaims each eagle’s health as “gorgeous.”