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Avian practice
Veterinary care of wild owl casualties
  1. David Couper and
  2. Steve Bexton


Owls are common wildlife casualties seen in veterinary practice, and the basic principles of avian medicine and surgery apply to their treatment. However, unlike birds kept in captivity, free-living owls must be fully fit with unimpaired sensory faculties, especially vision and hearing, in order to survive in the wild. Most owls presented to veterinary practitioners have been injured in traumatic collisions, usually involving road vehicles, and many will have sustained severe injuries as a result. This article covers the principles of dealing with wild owls, including their care and treatment, and the importance of cooperation with rehabilitators in making realistic decisions about their chances of regaining full fitness to avoid unnecessary procedures and suffering.

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