Monday, December 13, 2010

Seagull Rodeo At The Cat Hospital

Mondays in veterinary practice are often pretty exciting, and today is proving to be right up there with the best. We started out with two office visits and an emergency walk-in, involving three blood draws, one sedation, a major bath, two very worried owners, and three unhappy cats.

Then Alison stepped out back for a break, and a minute later called me on her cell phone.

"Dr. Robison, there's a (unintelligible) with a (unintelligible) leg out back!!!"


"There's a seagull with a broken leg here!!"

Alison was particularly difficult to understand because of her panic-induced fast speech pattern. You see, she's terrified of birds. And we did indeed have a very large injured seagull at the back door.

Apparently over the weekend, said seagull arrived here by means unknown. It has a limp, and can't fly. I am not qualified to come to any conclusions about what is actually wrong with it, because other than chickens, I didn't study birds in vet school (avian medicine was an elective). But I know when they need help.

We called the California Wildlife Center , but because he was loose they didn't really want to come out. So we got a big cardboard box from the printer next-door, recruited the proprietor (who had been feeding him scraps over the weekend) and had us a little roundup out in the Papa John's parking lot. After a couple of minutes of running back and forth and shouting and throwing the box toward him as he scurried away, I finally got him against the chain link fence along the alley and pinned him in the box. With the lid in place he was secured and brought into the hospital.

We called the wildlife people again, let them know he was ready for transport to their rehab facility, and are awaiting their arrival. The lid is taped in place and the box is in Room 1 with the doors shut so Alison can get over her panic (she is a complete aviophobe, or whatever you call a terrible fear of birds).

I'd post a photo of him, but he's in the box.

ETA: The correct term for Alison's problem is "ornithophobia". It has manifested before - when she was new here, somebody brought in an injured sparrow and I had her drive it (in a box) out to the wildlife rehabbers in Calabasas for me, not knowing how badly they scared her. I felt bad for her, but she handled it like a trooper and then quietly went home and had a meltdown.