Posted by: Wild Instincts | June 23, 2013

Loon Endoscopy

On June 17, 2013, Wild Instincts admitted an adult loon. WDNR officials had retrieved it from an angler who rescued it. It had 100 yards of braided fishing line hanging from it’s mouth.
Loons often have encounters with fishing lures, lost jigs and sinkers. If the jigs or sinkers contain lead, this can cause lead poisoning when the loon’s digestive system starts breaking down the materials. Lead poisoning is one of the leading causes of loon mortality.
This bird was banded so we were able to learn she was banded as an adult in 2010 on the same body of water she was rescued from.

Loon with braided Dacron fishing line protruding from its mouth.

Loon with braided Dacron fishing line protruding from its mouth.

Initial x-rays revealed not just one hook, but two hooks similar to a rig for walleye fishing. One of the hooks had already made its way deep into the proventriculus. The proventriculus is one part of two parts of a bird’s stomach. It has very acidic pH which softens food to make it easier for the bird to digest. There was also a spot on the x-ray which could’ve been a lead sinker or a rock. If it was indeed a lead sinker, the possibility of lead poisoning was highly likely.

Initial radiograph of loon showing 2 hooks and either a rock or a possible sinker.

Initial radiograph of loon showing 2 hooks and either a rock or a possible sinker.

How to remove this mess was the next issue. If hooks aren’t too deep sometimes they can be removed by sliding tubing over the line and trying to dislodge the hook. This is a very good reason if you ever come across a loon or any other animal with fish line hanging out its mouth not to cut the line. It’s better for the professionals to have enough line rather than too little line to work with.
In this particular situation the hook was too deep into the digestive system to try a tube. Traditional open surgery was too risky. The vet believed the bird would die. Even she lived, we could not imagine not developing complications during the aftercare required for that procedure.
We all were in luck, however. Northwoods Animal Hospital, the vet clinic Wild Instincts works closely with, was just installing their new endoscope. There were just a couple of parts that would be installed on 6/21. It was decided this loon would be the perfect first patient.
We all crossed our fingers and waited. She was allowed to eat normally which she did with vigor, going through $20 of minnows each day.
On June 21st, Mark took the loon for her procedure. One intern, Maggie, had the day off so she tagged along to take photos and because it was an incredible opportunity to see this procedure.

 

Radiograph taken just before endoscopy procedure. Line and hooks are now bunched into a ball.

Radiograph taken just before endoscopy procedure. Line and hooks are now bunched into a ball.


Monitor showing view through the endoscope lying on the table waiting to start.

Monitor showing view through the endoscope lying on the table waiting to start.

Mark and Dr. Theuerkauf get the sedated loon into position while Dr. Franks prepares the scope.

Mark and Dr. Theuerkauf get the sedated loon into position while Dr. Franks prepares the scope.

Dr. Franks finalizing settings while Mark monitors the bird.

Dr. Franks finalizing settings while Mark monitors the bird.

 

The three men starting the procedure.

The three men starting the procedure.

The removed hooks and line with the equipment that made it possible.

The removed hooks and line with the equipment that made it possible.

SUCCESS! Hooks, line and other fishing tackle does NOT belong in birds.

SUCCESS! Hooks, line and other fishing tackle does NOT belong in birds.

 

Last radiograph. All clear. No sinker. She will be wild again!

Last radiograph. All clear. No sinker. She will be wild again!

 

The Loon Endoscopy Team (left to right): Mark Naniot, Wild Instincts, Dr. Dave Theuerkauf, DVM, Northwoods Animal Hospital and Dr. Mike Franks, Gastroenterologist, Marshfield Clinic.

The Loon Endoscopy Team (left to right): Mark Naniot, Wild Instincts, Dr. Dave Theuerkauf, DVM, Northwoods Animal Hospital and Dr. Mike Franks, Gastroenterologist, Marshfield Clinic.

Mark releases her at 6:04 p.m. on June 22nd.

Mark releases her at 6:04 p.m. on June 22nd.
Thanks and tell all your friends to use lead free fishing tackle and pick up all fishing line!

Thanks and tell all your friends to use lead free fishing tackle and pick up all fishing line!

 

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Ann Novek–With the Sky as the Ceiling and the Heart Outdoors.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: