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Raptors

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Abstract

This chapters birds of prey indigenous to the British Isles, including the common kestrel, peregrine falcon, common buzzard and snowy owl. A third of raptor wildlife admissions suffer fractures, and this chapter includes a review of the assessment and treatment options for orthopaedic injuries. This chapter also covers: ecology and biology; anatomy and physiology; capture, handling and transportation; clinical assessment; first aid and hospitalization; anaesthesia and analgesia; specific conditions; therapeutics; husbandry; rearing of young raptors; rehabilitation and release; and legal considerations.

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Figures

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29.1 Common UK species of raptors. (a) Peregrine falcon (). (b) Common buzzard (). (c) Kestrel (). (d) Barn owl (). (e) Tawny owl ().
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29.7 (a) Restraint of a common buzzard: lower legs in one hand, with a finger between the feet to prevent self-trauma if struggling, second hand restraining the body, head and neck. (b) Common buzzard being restrained by an assistant: lower legs in one hand, with a finger between the feet to prevent self-trauma if struggling, second hand restraining the neck and head. This allows the clinician two hands to withdraw body parts for a full examination. (Editors’ note – less experienced handlers may wish additionally to use a towel to cover the head, wings and feet when handling these birds.)
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29.8 Schematic flow chart of steps in the admission and management of raptor wildlife casualty cases. Drawn by S.J. Elmhurst BA Hons (www.livingart.org.uk) and are printed with her permission.
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29.10 Haemorrhage in the anterior chamber of the eye of a sparrowhawk. Ocular examination is an essential part of the clinical assessment of all raptors.
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29.11 Tail guard on a sparrowhawk. Old radiographic film or similar can be used. It should cover the distal 50% of the tail and be a little larger than the tail itself. Protecting tail and flight feathers is essential, as any damage will delay or prevent later release.
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29.13 (a) Use of wires and tension band to repair a fracture of the proximal humerus. (b) Intramedullary wires in the proximal humerus fixed to an external skeletal fixation construct: a ‘hybrid fixator’. This method of fixation provides increased stability and allows for wing movement. Drawn by S.J. Elmhurst BA Hons (www.livingart.org.uk) and are printed with her permission.
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29.14 Ventrodorsal view of mid-shaft humerus repair using a ‘hybrid fixator’: external skeletal fixation pins are positioned in the dorsal aspect at either perpendicular or acute angles as appropriate.
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29.15 (a) Introduction of a single intramedullary pin into the proximal ulna. (b) The fractured ulna is digitally reduced and the intramedullary pin is advanced across the fracture site into the distal fragment. Drawn by S.J. Elmhurst BA Hons (www.livingart.org.uk) and are printed with her permission.
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29.16 (a) Distal femoral facture. (b) Wires are first passed normograde from the fracture site. (c) Intramedullary wires are then returned retrograde across the fracture site. (d) The intramedullary wires are both bent to the lateral aspect of the bone and joined with external skeletal fixation pins.

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