Basic techniques

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Intramuscular injection is the most common route by which injectable drugs are given to captive birds. In general injections are given into the pectoral muscle mass rather than the leg because: the pectoral muscle mass is larger; and there are concerns over the presence of renal portal venous system resulting in effects on the drug pharmacokinetics. This chapter examines injection techniques, crop tubing, beak trimming, nail/talon trimming, ring removal, imping and euthanasia.

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8.1 Pectoral muscle mass (in an emaciated Hobby). The shading shows the area favoured for injections and for microchips. (© John Chitty)
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8.2 Caudal tibial muscle mass (Eurasian Buzzard). The shaded area is used for intramuscular injection. (© John Chitty)
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8.3 Precrural fold (arrowed) in a Hobby. The area has been plucked. (© John Chitty)
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8.5 Intravenous injection and blood collection sites in raptors. Jugular vein (Peregrine Falcon, anaesthetized). Ulnar vein (Tawny Owl). Venepuncture of the caudal tibial vein (White-headed Vulture). (a,b, © John Chitty; c, courtesy of the Hawk Conservancy Trust)
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8.7 Intravenous and blood collection sites in the pigeon. Even in this sparsely feathered juvenile, the thickness of the skin hinders finding the jugular despite wetting the skin. Ulnar/basilic vein. Caudal tibial vein. Nail: the ‘quick’ is clearly visible. (© John Chitty)
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8.9 Intravenous injection and blood collection sites in a Greenfinch. A modified ringer’s grip allows access to the jugular vein. Ulnar/basilic vein. Caudal tibial vein. (© John Chitty)
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8.10 Intravenous catheter placed in a raptor’s caudal tibial vein. (© Michael Lierz)
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8.11 Plucked wing of a Hobby. The positions of the radius and ulna are marked. The needle is inserted through the dorsal tuberosity of the ulna. (© John Chitty)
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8.12 Crop tubing a raptor. Note the extension of the head and the position of the tube over the glottis and along the right side of the mouth. (© John Chitty)
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8.14 Beak dystrophy in a Harris’ Hawk. Note the smoother newer beak growth near the cere, reflecting some response to an essential amino acid supplement. The beak is elongated, reflecting abnormal wear between the two beaks. (© John Chitty)
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8.15 Normal falcon beak (Common Kestrel). Note the tomial ‘tooth’, which must be left intact when coping the beak. Normal hawk beak (Eurasian Buzzard), which lacks the ‘tooth’. (© John Chitty)
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8.16 Nail cutting in falcons. Some falconers like very long talons to be ‘blunted’ at the end of the flying season, as in this Harris’ Hawk . The talon is not drastically shortened but merely blunted. A grinding tool is excellent for this purpose (here being used on the talon of a Hobby). (© John Chitty)
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8.17 Clipping a finch’s claw. Note the side-to-side squeeze so that bleeding is minimized should the blood vessel be cut accidentally. If a blood sample is required, the clippers should be applied ‘top to bottom’. (© John Chitty)
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8.18 Imping. A bamboo stick is glued into the new feather shaft using two-component glue. The bamboo stick is now inserted into the old feather shaft. Note the paper below the feathers to avoid glue spoilage onto underlaying feathers. All feathers to be imped are inserted. The glue needs about 5 minutes to harden, which allows the feathers to be rotated into the correct positions. A correctly imped wing; the repair is not noticeable. (© Michael Lierz)
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