Canada Goose #18-2730

September 13, 2018
Rescue Location
Staunton, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Stuck on roof
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On September 13, a roofing crew spotted an adult Canada Goose on the roof of Petco in Staunton. The goose was quiet and not moving much; it appeared as though the goose had been on the roof for a significant period of time and could not get down. Staunton Animal Control Officers responded to the scene and called the Staunton Fire Department; rescuers were able to use a bucket truck to retrieve the distressed goose.

The bird was admitted to the Wildlife Center as patient number #18-2730. Dr. Karra, the Center’s veterinary intern, examined the goose when it arrived and found it to be thin and dull, with an abnormally low heart rate. Radiographs were within normal limits and did not reveal any fractures; blood work was within normal limits. It was unclear why the goose was unable to fly from the roof, though it could have an underlying disease or toxin.

Dr. Karra gave the goose fluids and an antifungal medication and created a space for it in the Center’s holding room. Organophosphate toxicity is known to cause low heart rates in affected animals, so the veterinary team also administered a dose of atropine to the bird. Supportive care will be offered in the days ahead, and the goose will be closely monitored.

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Your donation will help provide care to this sick Canada Goose and approximately 4,000 other patients that the Wildlife Center will help this year.


Patient Updates

On November 15, the Wildlife Center lost power and suffered damage to fences and outbuildings during a severe ice storm. Patients and education animals that were housed outdoors were quickly evacuated and moved into crates indoors.
(See a video tour of damage to the Center’s property.)

Because of the power outage, some patients were transferred over the weekend to other rehabilitators or wildlife hospitals in the area.

On November 16, Canada Geese #18-2813 and #18-2730 were transferred to a local wildlife rehabilitation center; that center will continue caring for the geese and release them when appropriate.

Canada Goose #18-2730 has been doing well during the past week. The veterinary team discontinued daily monitoring of the goose’s heart rate after the improved blood work results; the team now gives the goose an overall health check once a week. The bird is eating well and swimming in the Center’s aviary.

Because Canada Geese are one of the species hunted in Virginia as game birds, Center veterinarians need to take into consideration the “drug withdrawal” times of all the medications the goose was given during its hospitalization. Different medications take different lengths of time to leave an animal’s system; some might be cleared within days, while others take months. One particular medication has a rather lengthy withdrawal period, which means that the goose will need to stay at the Center through hunting season, which ends in February.

In the meantime, Canada Goose #18-2730 will be an older buddy and role model to younger goose #18-2813.

On October 1, Canada Goose #18-2730 had blood drawn to recheck its cholesterol levels. Results came back within normal limits; it appears as though the medications have worked and improved the goose’s overall health. The staff will soon flight-test the goose (along with roommate #18-2813) to see if they can be released this month.

Canada Goose #18-2730 has been doing well during the past week; the bird has been bright and alert and eating very well. The goose can sometimes be seen on Critter Cam 2 and often is bathing and swimming. The veterinary team continues to monitor the goose’s heart rate and have noted that it has been improving, though is still low.

The goose will continue to receive a vasodilator and statin medication through the start of October; the bird’s blood work will be re-checked in mid-0ctober to see if the cholesterol level has improved.

Canada Goose #18-2730 has been making small improvements during the past week, though additional diagnostics have revealed some significant health issues for the goose. Results from the goose’s biochemistry [blood work] came back, revealing that the bird had high cholesterol. The high cholesterol, combined with the goose’s low heart rate and enlarged heart, make it likely that the goose has atherosclerosis – plaque in its arteries. For a wild goose, the most common cause of this type of vascular disease is a poor diet.

Dr. Karra started the goose on a course of vasodilators – medications to allow blood to flow more easily through the affected vessels. The goose will also be given medications to reduce the cholesterol levels.

On September 17, the goose moved outside to the Center’s Aviary, where it has more space to move around, and a small tub in which it can swim. The goose has gradually started eating more food on its own, and is swimming and preening. You may even be able to catch a glimpse of the goose on one of the Center’s Critter Cams!

This bird’s story serves as an important reminder not to feed bread, crackers, and other human foods to ducks and geese. These human foods can cause a host of problems for wild birds and the environment.