The following story was shared with us by wildlife rehabilitator Haley Goroway of New York.
Prometheus, a hatch-year feral rock dove, was found limping down a public street in Athens, New York. The finders were able to catch him with ease and brought him to me. Upon admit, he was bright, alert, and responsive. He had a prominent right limp, was emaciated (completely depleted muscle mass of the keel and even the tarsometatarsus or lower leg). He was missing some of his rectrices (tail feathers), was covered in lice, and presented with superficial scratches on his keel. It wasn’t determined what caused his condition. He was 218 grams (about 7.7 ounces) upon arrival.
His triage plan went as follows:
Prometheus’s fluid therapy (LRS, lactated ringer’s solution) assessment was calculated by taking into account his maintenance and replacement fluids. On Day 1, he received 8 mL three times a day (TID). On Day 2 and 3, he received 6 mL TID. On Day 4, he received 4 mL TID. All of these fluid therapy sessions were offered PO, via crop needle.
On his second rehydration session of Day 1, I began to mix very small concentrations of EmerAid IC Omnivore into the fluid syringe. Due to his degree of emaciation, I wanted to begin getting calories into him as soon as comfortably possible. I made the mixtures very thin so as not to overwhelm his system. I used no specific amount of EmerAid (I usually don’t follow measurements and gauge “thicknesses” by patients’ circumstances), so I cannot provide a ratio. I repeated this process for his PM tubing.
With every following LRS tubing, I began to mix in more and more EmerAid. After two days, the amount he was receiving was the consistency of a “typical” thick EmerAid slurry. On the third day, Promo was not consistently feeding himself, so fluids were continued for a fourth day.
At that point, he was expressing more interest in self-feeding, so PO fluids were withheld. Prometheus continued to make improvements (both with the help of dewormers and NSAIDs). His weight was heavily monitored for the duration of his stay. After more than two months, he attained complete improvement, weighed 357 grams (12.6 ounces), and was released at a farm.
The next three cases all came in around the same time and were very similar in nature. Susan was a juvenile rock dove found orphaned in the evening of November 6 in Saugerties, New York. She was thin, lethargic, and hypothermic. It was theorized that she was not yet weaned and with no available parents offering to feed her, she was profoundly starving. Her initial weight was 187 grams (about 6.7 ounces).
Susan was initially stabilized when she came into my care. After some time in an incubator, she was rehydrated PO with 6 mL of LRS and a small volume of EmerAid IC Omnivore; a thin solution. Having expressed no interest in self-feeding, I wanted to approach the situation by treating for shock, in order to facilitate more activity.
By Day 2, she was brighter and more stable. For her AM treatment, she received another 6mL LRS solution with more EmerAid IC Omnivore, this time a thicker solution. She was moved out of the incubator but continued not to express interest in self-feeding. In the afternoon, she was given 7mL LRS, Omnivore, and a weight-appropriate serving of EquaHolistic Avian Probiotics, to help stimulate gut flora. The solution was of a similar consistency to the AM’s solution.
By the evening, she presented as well-hydrated and received a thicker EmerAid tubing, with the consistency of a bisque. On the morning of Day 3, she received a thick solution of: 7 mL LRS, Omnivore, B12, and probiotics. In the afternoon, she received 7mL LRS and Omnivore. At this point, she still had not started feeding herself and her weight had dropped. For her PM tubing, she received 9mL of an Omnivore mixture.
On Day 4, she was tubed 10 mL LRS, Omnivore, and probiotics. In the afternoon, she was seen starting to nibble at seeds, but her crop remained empty. To tempt her to feed herself, I forewent an afternoon feeding and waited until the PM to tube her: 7 mL Omnivore mixture, still thick. On Day 5, her weight improved so she only received an AM feeding: 7mL LRS and EmerAid, thick. At this point, Susan began self-feeding and continued to improve. She was released on a farm on December 20 at a weight of 295 grams (about 10.4 ounces).
Harper was another juvenile rock dove found in a similar fashion to Susan in November; it is possible both were siblings. She was found in the same place, and was also thin and lethargic. Suspecting that she, too, was orphaned or neglected, her protocols were similar. She came in weighing 205 grams (about 7.2 ounces).
In the afternoon of Day 1, after she was warmed in the incubator, she was tubed 6mL LRS, a small amount of EmerAid IC Omnivore, and probiotics. In the evening, she received 7 mL LRS/Omnivore, a slightly thicker mixture. On Day 2, she received: 7mL LRS, Omnivore, B12, and probiotics, a thick mixture. In the afternoon, she was tubed 7mL LRS and Omnivore, also a thick mixture. By the afternoon, Harper was starting to self-feed, so she began only getting SID tubings.
On Day 3, she received a large tubing of 10 mL LRS and EmerAid IC Omnivore, a thick mixture, to fill her up for the day while she facilitated self-feeding. She continued to get probiotics in her self-feeding rations. On Day 4, SID tubings were stopped because she was continuing to gain weight while self-feeding. On December 20, she was released on a farm and weighed 277 grams (about 9.8 ounces).
Gerard was the last of a group of juvenile rock doves in my care this past fall. He was found on November 8 in similar circumstances to Harper and Susan. He presented as thin and lethargic. He was easy to capture by hand, with no net or specialized planning, and weighed in at 183 grams (about 6.5 ounces).
After perking up in an incubator for a few hours, in the afternoon, he was tubed 6mL of LRS with a very small amount of EmerAid IC Omnivore and probiotics in a thin solution. In the PM, he had perked up significantly and was followed up with a similar solution that was thicker and more bisque-like.
On Day 2, Gerard began to feed himself. In the AM, he received a solution similar to the evening preceding, with probiotics included. He was withheld from an afternoon tubing to coax him into pecking at more food. In the evening, he was given another tubing of 7mL LRS and Omnivore, thick. He was put in close range of Susan and Harper and this facilitated self-feeding quicker because of his proximity to his conspecifics. By Day 3, he was self-feeding.
He continued to improve and was released with Susan and Harper on December 20, weighing 276 grams (about 9.7 ounces).