VCA Animal Hospitals across the country form partnerships with animal shelters and rescues to save the lives of pets, wildlife and those who need a second chance at life. This story highlights the combined effort of VCA Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle and PAWS to save the life of a poisoned goose.
Back in May 2016, a Canada Goose was found by the side of the road. He suffered from a wing injury, was unable to fly and was in desperate need of medical attention. This goose was taken to PAWS and dubbed Patient 16_1359. The results of blood tests revealed a high level of lead in his blood–six times the safe level for humans. Also,radiographs showed he had ingested a lead pellet.
The PAWS team knew it was important to get treatment for the goose and quickly. The goose was taken to VCA Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle so the team could perform an endoscopy to locate and remove the pellet.
Treating the Canada Goose
The PAWS veterinary team then transferred the goose to VCA and discussed the case. Dr. John Huckabee, PAWS Wildlife Veterinarian stated,
“The bird was shot, probably reached around and swallowed the pellet”.
Dr. Polly Peterson, DVM, DACVIM at VCA noted, “We find the anatomy differences between the birds and other wild animals and the cats and dogs we do everyday to be really interesting”
According to Dr. Peterson, the PAWS Veterinary team often comes to VCA Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle to perform anesthesia on the birds. After anesthetizing the goose and using an endoscope to locate the pellet, it was discovered that the pellet was stuck in the gizzard, or second stomach. Although the pellet was hard to spot among the rocks and other debris in the stomach, Shawnee Guyer, a veterinary technician suggested that a radiograph (X-RAY) be taken while the endoscope was inside the bird.
A poisoned goose no more
With that x-ray, it was easy to locate the pellet and remove it safely from the goose. Dr. Huckabee also examined the injured wing and determined that it was already in the process of healing. The goose recovered from the anesthesia and was transported back to the PAWS facility. There he continued healing, now lead and toxin free. Thanks to the partnership of PAWS and VCA, the goose has been released back into the wild and another animal receives a second chance at life.
*Please note that this video does show detailed images of the endoscopy itself, so viewer discretion is advised.