Case Studies

Case Study 7 - A Surprising Find in a Juvenile Herring Gull

1 - Meet the Patient

This juvenile Herring Gull came from the Duluth area and has quite an interesting story to share! Note the splint and leg wrap on its left leg. This was taken a week ago, shortly after surgery.

2 - The Leg Fracture

Probably a result of its fall, it has a fractured left leg, as you can see in the photo. Fortunately, the fracture is clean, so Vet Renee performed surgery to pin the leg. But, when they were taking x-rays they discovered something else...

3 - What Is That?

Wow. Look at that! What is that triangular foregin object in the gull's GI tract? We're so glad we took a full body x-ray, and not just one of the injured leg. If the object hadn't been discovered it most likely would have killed the bird.

4 - Apparently they WILL eat anything!

Vet Renee removed the foreign object in a very delicate surgery: It's a large (well, if you're a gull), sharp piece of metal (shown in the lower left corner of the note). Somehow the gull either gulped it up, thinking it was food, or a harried parent fed it to it. The bird may not have been eating enough food and become weak, leading to its plummet from the roof. This sign is on the gull's cage so all our volunteers can see what this poor gull has been through.

5 - The Pinned Leg

Pinned legs are always fascinating to see on x-rays. Here's the x-ray taken after surgery showing the metal pin (solid light colored bar running up the leg). You can still faintly see the fracture in the bone next to it (by the arrow). The round band on the other leg is just the temporary plastic band that we use to ID our birds.

6 - Recheck with Vet Renee

On July 31, Vet Renee performed a recheck on the gull. Here's a close-up of the external site of the pin.

7 - A New Splint

The original splint that was on the bird's leg was designed to immobilize it while the bone knit. Since the bones are knitting so well, that splint has been removed; replaced by a new lighter one, shown here as Vet Renee adds glue to stiffen up the fabric. This splint will allow the bird to use its injured leg, preventing atrophy and other issues from developing. As of the 31st, it's moving to a larger outdoor cage with another injured Herring Gull.

Other Case Studies

  • Case Study 1 - Healing a Heron
  • Case Study 2 - Kingfisher with a Luxation
  • Case Study 3 - Rehabilitating a Gunshot Swan
  • Case Study 4 - An Injured Sandhill Crane
  • Case Study 5 - One Lucky Duck
  • Case Study 6 - Treating a Blanding's Turtle
  • Case Study 7 - A Surprising Find in a Juvenile Herring Gull
  • Case Study 8 - Hook, Line and Sinker - Spiny Softshell Turtle
  • Case Study 9 - Coyote caught in a Trap