An Anhinga Overcomes A Mysterious Illness With Help From Rescuers

The following story was shared by the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW).

anhingaAn anhinga was observed sitting on the ground in Cape Coral for two full days. The adult female bird was brought to the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) on Sanibel Island, Florida, on November 11, 2018, where she weighed in at 1.71 pounds (775 grams). She was emaciated with a body condition score of 1/5. The bird was experiencing mild head tremors and was very weak; her prognosis was poor to guarded. Her blood work indicated that she had lost some blood and had probably not eaten lately.

Although the exact cause of debilitation remained unknown, the veterinarian suspected either infectious disease or some type of toxicosis. The veterinary technician placed an IV catheter and administered a hetastarch bolus followed by saline for several days. Initially, the anhinga laid down and slept all day. We started gavage-feeding 3% EmerAid Intensive Care Piscivore and gradually increased the percentage to 5%. After 24 hours of feeding this liquid diet, the animal was bright and alert enough to eat whole fish on her own. At this time, she was also allowed to swim in a tub of water several times a day. By December 5, 2018, the anhinga’s weight had increased to 1.84 pounds (835 grams), and she was deemed ready for release. On December 6, 2018, she was released back to her home in Cape Coral, Florida.