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  • Author or Editor: Patrick T. Redig x
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Objective—To evaluate the outcome of the application of an external skeletal fixator intramedullary pin tie-in (TIF) to tibiotarsal fractures in raptors.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—Thirty-four raptors with 37 tibiotarsal fractures.

Procedures—Medical records and radiographs for raptors with tibiotarsal fractures that were treated at The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota between 1995 and 2011 were reviewed. Descriptive statistics were generated and univariate logistic regression analyses were used to assess whether age, sex, body weight, location and nature of the fracture, and type of surgical reduction were significantly associated with whether the fracture healed following surgical reduction and TIF application.

Results—31 of 37 (84%) tibiotarsal fractures successfully healed following surgical reduction and TIF application. The mean healing time was 38 days (range, 15 to 70 days). None of the variables assessed were significantly associated with whether the tibiotarsal fracture healed. Twenty of the 34 (59%) raptors were eventually rehabilitated and released.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that most tibiotarsal fractures were successfully managed by surgical reduction and stabilization with a TIF. However, other comorbidities (eg, systemic infections and visual deficits) negatively affected the rehabilitation of raptors and sometimes resulted in euthanasia despite the fact that the tibiotarsal fracture had healed, and those comorbidities, along with the variables evaluated (eg, age, sex, and nature of the fracture), should be used as triage criteria and prognostic indicators.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To evaluate the safety and efficacy of an experimental adjuvanted DNA-plasmid vaccine against West Nile virus (WNV) in red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis).

Animals—19 permanently disabled but otherwise healthy red-tailed hawks of mixed ages and both sexes without detectable serum antibodies against WNV.

Procedures—Hawks were injected IM with an experimental WNV DNA-plasmid vaccine in an aluminum-phosphate adjuvant (n = 14) or with the adjuvant only (control group; 5). All birds received 2 injections at a 3-week interval. Blood samples for serologic evaluation were collected before the first injection and 4 weeks after the second injection (day 0). At day 0, hawks were injected SC with live WNV. Pre- and postchallenge blood samples were collected at intervals for 14 days for assessment of viremia and antibody determination; oropharyngeal and cloacal swabs were collected for assessment of viral shedding.

Results—Vaccination was not associated with morbidity or deaths. Three of the vaccinated birds seroconverted after the second vaccine injection; all other birds seroconverted following the live virus injection. Vaccinated birds had significantly less severe viremia and shorter and less-intense shedding periods, compared with the control birds.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Use of the WNV DNA-plasmid vaccine in red-tailed hawks was safe, and vaccination attenuated but did not eliminate both the viremia and the intensity of postchallenge shedding following live virus exposure. Further research is warranted to conclusively determine the efficacy of this vaccine preparation for protection of red-tailed hawks and other avian species against WNV-induced disease.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To assess ophthalmologic features and ocular lesions in red-tailed hawks and Cooper's hawks naturally infected with West Nile virus (WNV).

Design—Original study.

Animals—13 hawks.

Procedures—All hawks underwent complete ophthalmic examinations including slit lamp biomicroscopy and binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy. Eleven hawks were euthanized because of a grave prognosis; complete necropsies were performed. Eyes, brain, heart, and kidneys were processed for histologic and immunohistochemical examinations. Pooled tissue homogenates and aqueous humor samples were assessed for WNV nucleic acid via PCR assay, and anti-WNV antibody titers in aqueous humor and plasma were determined.

Results—All birds had similar funduscopic abnormalities including exudative chorioretinal lesions and chorioretinal scarring in a geographic or linear pattern. Eleven birds were euthanized, and 2 birds were released. Plasma from both released hawks and plasma and aqueous humor of all euthanized hawks that were evaluated contained anti-WNV antibodies. Except for 1 hawk, all euthanized hawks had WNV-associated disease (determined via detection of WNV antigen or nucleic acid in at least 1 organ). Histopathologic ocular abnormalities, most commonly pectenitis, were detected in all euthanized birds; several birds had segmental choroiditis, often with corresponding segmental retinal atrophy. West Nile virus antigen was detected in the retinas of 9 of the euthanized birds. In 2 hawks, WNV antigen was detected in the retina only.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that funduscopically detectable chorioretinal lesions appear to be associated with WNV disease in hawks. Detection of ocular lesions may aid in antemortem or postmortem diagnosis of this condition.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association