Maureen Murray, Stefano Pizzirani, Florina Tseng
Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery 27 (2), 120-127, (1 June 2013) https://doi.org/10.1647/2012-007
KEYWORDS: evisceration, enucleation, birds of prey, ocular trauma, Avian, Eastern Screech Owl, Megascops asio, great horned owl, Bubo virginianus, Barred Owl, Strix varia, red-tailed hawk, Buteo jamaicensis, Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Ocular trauma is common in birds of prey presented to wildlife clinics and rehabilitation centers. Enucleation is the procedure most commonly described for treatment of end-stage ocular disease or chronically painful eyes in birds; however, there are several disadvantages and risks to this procedure. While evisceration has been suggested as an alternative, it has not been described for multiple cases or with long-term follow-up data in birds of prey. This report details an evisceration technique performed in 5 captive birds of prey of 4 different species (1 eastern screech owl [Megascops asio], 1 great horned owl [Bubo virginianus], 2 red-tailed hawks [Buteo jamaicensis], and 1 bald eagle [Haliaeetus leucocephalus]) with long-term follow-up information. In addition, this report describes 14 cases of free-living owls of 3 different species (1 great horned owl, 4 barred owls [Strix varia], and 9 eastern screech owls) on which this technique was performed from 2004 to 2011 and which were subsequently released to the wild. Because of the limited risk of complications and the less-severe disruption of facial symmetry, which may be particularly important in owls that are candidates for release to the wild, evisceration should be considered over enucleation in birds of prey that require surgical intervention for the management of severe sequelae to ocular trauma.