U of S veterinarians to release great horned owl

SASKATOON - Media are invited to attend the release of a great horned owl currently under the care of wildlife veterinarians in the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S).

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 5:15 pm
Holiday Park
1205 Schuyler Street

The owl was brought into the WCVM's Veterinary Medical Centre (VMC) on Jan. 21 and has been under the care of clinicians who have provided physical evaluation and treatment of an injury. The patient will be released back into the wild near where it was found. WCVM wildlife veterinarians Dr. Miranda Sadar, Dr. Trent Shrader and Dr. Trina Bennett will be available for interviews onsite.

Please remember that this is a wild animal: personal protective equipment is required to handle the owl, and we ask that media on-site follow any directions relayed to them while the owl is in hand.

For more information, contact:
Jeanette Stewart
Communications Co-ordinator
Western College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Saskatchewan
Office: 306-966-2560 Cell: 306-290-4572

When did the owl come to the clinic?

It was admitted on Jan. 21, 2016.

Where did it come from?

The owl was captured in a building on the corner of Avenue J South and 17th Street in Saskatoon.

What was wrong with it?

The bird experienced damage to its cere—soft tissue around the base of the beak near the nostrils—after becoming trapped in building materials.

What treatment did it receive at the WCVM?

Veterinarians at the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre performed a physical examination, as well as preliminary bloodwork. The bird received anti-inflammatory pain-relieving medications and wound management. Exotic animal technicians and clinicians also delivered supplemental fluid therapy and feedings to the owl. The technicians and clinicians were primarily responsible for the bird's care, with the help of student volunteers. Thankfully the owl did not sustain injuries that impacted its ability to fly, so it did not require rehabilitation, physical therapy or surgery.

How do you know the owl is ready to go back into the wild?

This bird's soft tissue injuries have healed well. It was also flight tested to evaluate its flight capabilities. Many factors are considered before releasing it back into the wild: most importantly is its ability to survive in the wild, feed and hunt appropriately, continue to reproduce and contribute to the species.

Why is it being released at this time and location?

The owl will be released just before dusk, which is the best time to release owls due to their nocturnal hunting habits. It will be released in Holiday Park because it is close to a water source and near where it was captured. Different animals are released at different times of day—for example, eagles and hawks hunt during the day, so would be released then.

How can I help to support rescued wildlife?

Due to the high cost of treating these animals, the VMC is always seeking donations to support wildlife cases such as this one. Donations can be made through https://give.usask.ca/online/wcvm.php.


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