Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

April 3, 2013

Do you know who shot this goose?

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IBR staff position the arrow found in a Greylag Goose. The bird was rescued in Napa and brought to our San Francisco Bay center.

Alert: International Bird Rescue is looking for information into a recent incident of animal cruelty involving this Greylag Goose.

On Wednesday, March 27 around 5:30pm, the Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County received calls from the public about a goose that had been shot through its neck with an arrow. The bird was successfully captured the next day and rushed to IBR, where it underwent a complicated surgery to save its life.

Anyone with information on the person or persons behind this cruelty case should call the Napa County Sheriff’s Office at 707-253-4451. The officer handling the case is Sgt. Oscar Ortiz. For any media inquiries for International Bird Rescue, please call 831-622-7588.

The initials “K.H.” are handwritten on the arrow.

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International Bird Rescue staff veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Duerr describes the surgery she recently performed on this bird:

Napa Wildlife successfully staged a water capture of a goose with an arrow through its neck, and brought it to our San Francisco Bay center for treatment. When the bird arrived, they reported the arrow had fallen out in transit. However, we found the bird had two holes in its neck. Due to the location of the holes, I had concerns for either the trachea or esophagus being perforated. We anesthetized the bird so I could fully evaluate the injury.

Once the bird was asleep, we noticed a large amount of air and anesthetic gas escaping from the neck hole on the left side. I found that the trachea had been perfectly pierced and had two arrow-sized holes through the tracheal walls. We decided to proceed with surgical repair of the injury despite its very concerning prognosis. I placed a breathing tube into the bird’s airsac system so that we could keep it asleep and breathing comfortably while I worked on the trachea. There was a large zone of cartilage that was quite damaged. I removed the damaged areas before suturing the two free ends of the trachea together on the left side (a procedure called a “resection and anastomosis”), and repeated the suturing process on the right side. On the right side, I could see that the arrow had passed between the esophagus and spine to pierce the trachea. The other structures appeared uninjured.

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One medical characteristic of geese is that they produce a lot of saliva and mucus in order to eat dry grains and grasses. Under anesthesia this can become a problem due to irritation of the trachea setting off this production of mucus. I was (and remain) very concerned the bird would have severe tracheal irritation post-op and was at risk for asphyxiation. Birds are not as good at coughing as mammals. I have been treating him with several drugs to try to keep inflammation and mucus production under control while the trachea heals.

Currently, 6 days post-op, the bird is doing very well and is no longer producing disturbing amounts of mucus, and the skin is healing nicely. I am guardedly optimistic that the bird may recover well from the injury. — Rebecca Duerr, DVM MPVM

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