The bald eagle is often a sign of American pride, soaring high in the skies as one of the US's most recognizable symbols. Currently, two of these magnificent creatures have landed here in the Brazos Valley. For past two weeks, doctors at the Texas A&M Veterinary School have been hard at work treating a patriotic pair.
"Both of the eagles actually had wing tip injuries, fractures of the distal aspects or the end aspects of their wing," said Clinical Associate Professor J. Jill Heatley of the College of Vet Medicine. "And so we've had to remove part of the wing and open old fractures."
It is believed that both of the birds initially injured their wings by flying into a guy wire or something similar. The two eagles were found separately, one outside of Huntsville, the other near El Campo.
In addition to their wing injuries, both showed signs of fungal infection.
"They get medicated on a daily basis, both orally," said Heatley. "They also get medications that get inhaled to help with the fungus. In addition to that, about every two to three days, they get anesthetized for a complete physical and also a bandage change for their wounds."
Thanks to the help of some caring doctors, there are signs of improvement.
"Both of them are making some progress," said Heatley. "We have removed part of their wings, and their wounds are starting to granulate or heal in very nicely."
But despite their progress, neither one of these once majestic eagles will ever be released back into the wild.
"Both of them have injuries that would say they can't go back out because they missing part of their wing bones," said Heatley, "so they wouldn't be able to fly completely. They're both looking for homes in an appropriate education institution."
Heatley said a local animal rehabilitator is currently working with the federal government to place the eagles in a permanent home.
The eagles are expected to remain at the Small Animal Clinic at A&M for about two or three more weeks. Subsequently, they will go through rehabilitation for approximately two more months while they recover.
The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine has established a fund to help with the care of the bald eagles and other exotic animals. For more information on how to donate, contact the Small Animal Clinic at 979-845-2351.