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April 2014


Owl update

Dakota home safe but not 'out of woods' yet

Wildlife In Need Center staff shared a much-anticipated update on great horned owl, Dakota, after his recovery from the wild last week.

After his rescue on Dec. 7 WINC staff said he was dehydrated and very thin.

"Dakota had lost a total of 27 percent of his body weight, eliminating not only his fat reserves but moving on to deteriorate his muscle tissue as well. He was given a full physical exam by his veterinarian who also drew blood for testing and oversaw the administration of subcutaneous fluids," according to a WINC press release sent Tuesday, Dec. 13.

The tests confirmed his fragile condition. Wildlife Rehabilitator, Mandy Feavel said, “that his PCV (packed cell volume) levels were low enough to consider Dakota slightly anemic and that his dehydrated state was also confirmed by the elevated kidney values they found.”

Other tests did rule out the existence of any parasites that his already weakened system would have to fight off during recovery. The complete results from this examination made it clear that Dakota was at risk of suffering from refeeding syndrome. Because of this he was prescribed a treatment plan of fluids only.


The WINC examined Dakota again on Saturday, Dec. 10. A veterinarian determined that his hydration levels were increasing enough to begin introducing a liquid diet. This liquid diet was given both Saturday and Sunday in conjunction with the subcutaneous fluids.


Dakota was again examined on Monday and more blood was drawn to determine the treatment’s effects on his enzyme levels to date. The results, received late Monday night, were mostly positive, said the release.

"While not all of his levels were improved, he was given the green light to begin introducing solid foods in small amounts as of this morning," staff reported Tuesday. "The improvement is welcome news to all those hearts that have gone out to the ambassador bird over these past several weeks."

Dakota is still quiet and lethargic compared to his prior behavior.

"While we are thrilled to share good news, we are still treating his condition with caution. His debilitated system’s reaction to solid foods is still a potential threat," the release said.

Because of his weakened state Dakota is on quiet cage rest. However, staff shared photographs of a recent exam.

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