SANIBEL, Fla., (June 25, 2020) – The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) admitted its 3,000th patient of 2020 on June 23, three weeks earlier than reaching the same number of admissions in 2019. The patient, a fledgling mourning dove, was rescued in Cape Coral after being attacked by a cat.
As a result of the attack, the bird sustained wounds to its neck and back. The veterinary team cleaned and bandaged the wounds and started the dove on antibiotics to prevent infection from being in the cat’s mouth.
“A cat's mouth contains many bacteria which are transferred into the wound, and can result in life-threatening systemic infection rapidly if left untreated,” says Dr. Robin Bast, CROW’s staff veterinarian. “The wounds were flushed and cleaned with antiseptic solution, then bandaged with medical-grade honey to protect underlying tissues since the wounds were too large to surgically repair. Daily bandage changes will be required as the wounds heal, and the dove is on broad-spectrum antibiotics.”
According to the American Bird Conservancy, domestic and feral cats are responsible for more than one billion bird deaths each year in the United States. Cat attacks on wildlife, like this mourning dove, can be prevented and you can keep your furry feline safe from diseases, larger predators or a victim of an encounter with a vehicle by keeping it indoors, in an enclosed patio/lanai or leashed and supervised while enjoying time outside. It is particularly important to keep cats indoors during spring and summer months when young birds are learning to fly, as they often end up on the ground in the process, making them an easy target.
“Since the bird was brought to us quickly, it has a fighting chance of surviving it's encounter with a cat, but many are not so lucky,” continued Bast. “As a cat lover and wildlife veterinarian, I insist on keeping my own pet cats indoors to protect their health as well as that of native wildlife.”
As the 3,000th patient, the dove marks a milestone for patient admissions. So far this year, CROW has seen an approximate 15 percent increase in patient totals as of the same date last year, a year which ended with a record number of admissions. Since 2012, patient admissions to the wildlife hospital have increased by more than 55 percent.
“The number of patients admitted to our hospital continues to grow year after year,” says Alison Charney Hussey, executive director for CROW. “With the ongoing pandemic, the support of our community is more important than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on grants, donations from the public, money raised through our Visitor Education Center and our fundraising events to ensure we are able to continue to provide excellent medical care to each and every animal that comes through our doors.”