A visit from a night heron

Vetwest Whitfords recently received a phone call from AQWA asking if we could see an injured water bird. Always up for a challenge we were keen to meet our new patient. When the bird arrived, a night heron, we could see his dilemma. He had a fishing line hanging from his beak. Our first step was to take some radiographs of the heron's abdomen, which revealed a barbed fishing hook lodged in his stomach!

Our next move was to try and remove the hook as our only other choice was to humanely euthanase him if the hook could not be removed.
Birds are known to be very sensitive to stress or a change in their environment, so we needed to take the utmost care with handling and any surgical procedures performed. Dr Rudolf anaesthetised the heron and placed an endotracheal tube so we could administer the anaesthetic gas and oxygen. Dr Vanessa was then able to pass our endoscope (a flexible tube with a light source and a camera) down the oesophagus and into the heron's stomach to visualise the hook. 
After a lengthy procedure and very delicate manoevres, Dr Vanessa managed to remove the hook, much to everyone's relief.

The next twelve hours were critical as it had been a long procedure for the heron and the stress may have been too much for him. We were relieved to see that he showed great fighting spirit and survived due to the great care provided by our nursing team. Seabird Rescue collected him the following day as he needed specialised care to make a full recovery. We have since been informed that the heron has been successfully released back into his natural environment. (See photo above taken by Seabird Rescue at his release.)

Other related articles

Pet type(s): 

Share this page