Laughing Gull #19-2182

July 15, 2019
Rescue Location
Northampton County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Hit by vehicle
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On July 15, citizens were driving from Virginia Beach to Harrisonburg, Virginia, when they felt something bump into their car around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. They didn’t see anything on the road or around them and continued their journey. In Harrisonburg, they were surprised to discover an injured Laughing Gull in the open bed of the trailer they were pulling – likely the source of the “bump” at the tunnel!

The gull was admitted to the Center as patient #19-2182 and was examined soon after arrival. The veterinary team found that the gull had a fractured right leg; the location of the fracture was in the middle of the bone, which had a good prognosis for a surgical repair. The gull’s leg also had a wound at the fracture site, which was carefully cleaned. The gull started a course of pain medication and anti-inflammatories and was settled into a crate in the Center’s holding room.

Dr. Ernesto took the gull to surgery on July 17 and was able to insert a pin through the fractured bone, as well as an external fixator to stabilize the pin. The leg was carefully bandaged and the gull recovered from anesthesia uneventfully.

The veterinary team checks the gull’s fracture site every day to ensure there are no signs of infection; the pin sites are cleaned and the gull receives laser therapy on the injured leg. The gull is only eating a small amount of food, so the team also offers a special tube-feeding diet to ensure that it receives enough calories. The gull is not standing well, though it’s likely that the external fixator bar is getting in the way. If all goes, well, the veterinarians will start the “dynamic destabilization process” [removing one piece of the fixator system one piece at a time] around August 7.

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Patient Updates

Sadly, on July 28, the Laughing Gull was found deceased in its enclosure. There was a small amount of white material in the bird’s mouth, leading the veterinary team to suspect that the gull regurgitated food and may have aspirated (inhaled some of the contents). The veterinarians will perform a necropsy to see what else they can learn from the gull’s case.