Kiwi Possum Trap Injury

This adult male kiwi was a wild bird, brought to Wildbase after being found caught in a gin trap. Upon arrival it was obvious he was in a bad way. He was lethargic, dehydrated, dull and poorly responsive. There was dried blood on the leg, lacerations to the lower leg and a lot of soft tissue swelling. Because this bird was in such a state he was anaesthetised straight away to place an intravenous catheter and clean the leg wounds. Once he had recovered from the anaesthetic he was placed in an warm incubator, given pain relief, antibiotics and a constant infusion of fluids.

After a night’s rest, radiographs were taken showing that he had a wedge shaped divot in the lower leg bone (tarsometatarsus) but it had not fractured - luckily! Blood results also showed anaemia resulting from blood loss, which was closely monitored for improvement.

The heavily contaminated wounds needed cleaning daily to prevent infection. At the beginning of the treatment this was quite painful for the kiwi so he was given pain relief and an anaesthetic while we cleaned the wounds and changed the bandage. As the wounds started to heal we were able to do the cleaning and bandage change conscious but continued to provide pain relief. Once the wounds were clear of infection the type of bandage was changed. This meant the bandaging could stay on for up to seven days and promotes quicker healing.

Wild kiwi don’t usually convert to a captive diet. We can provide worms for them to eat while in hospital but it isn’t enough of a complete diet and won’t maintain weight on them while in care. This means force feeding the captive diet to the kiwi while in hospital. This kiwi was very stressed in hospital so we managed to maintain his weight by feeding once a day.

The wounds continued to heal well and after 35 days in hospital he was successfully released back into the wild.

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