Wild turkey patient has reason for gratitude this Thanksgiving
One lucky wild turkey overcame a near-death experience with a dog, thanks to quick action and expertise in care at Cornell’s Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital.
Thanksgiving is already a scary time to be a turkey, but 1 wild turkey faced even greater danger and came out the other side a survivor. The female turkey was severely injured after being attacked by a dog, but she is now safely recovering at Cornell’s Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital.
The turkey was discovered by a member of the public and brought to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in Chadwicks, New York, who then sent the turkey to the Wildlife Hospital. Upon assessment, the clinical team at the hospital found severe wounds on and around 1 of her legs, requiring intensive surgical and medical management.
“She had many wounds all over her body, but the life-threatening wounds were on her left side,” said Service Chief Dr. Sara Childs-Sanford. “She has had 3 surgeries so far to remove nonviable tissue and begin to close parts of the wounds which are both deep and wide. The tissues are kept clean and protected with large bandages (which the turkey likes to try to remove) and deep tissue infection is being treated with antibiotics based on information gained from bacterial cultures.”
Despite the extensive trauma and intensive treatment, the injured turkey remained resilient. “She handled the treatment extremely well,” Childs-Sanford said.
The wild bird is currently receiving medications to help keep her comfortable after the traumatic experience.“We have to medicate her twice a day, so we are lucky that she is easy to work with,” Childs-Sanford said. “She has maintained a great appetite throughout her stay, and in addition to her normal diet she is particularly fond of an occasional fruit salad, especially watermelon.”
The turkey is expected to make a full recovery and eventually be released back into the wild. "When her wound is healed, she’ll return to the original wildlife rehabilitator to regrow all of her feathers, and to be acclimated to a larger area and to outdoor temperatures, Childs-Sanford said.“When she is ready, she will be released in a suitable habitat near where she came from, where the presence of turkey flocks that she can join has been confirmed,” she said.
“We are extremely thankful that Cornell is here to help thousands of wild animals in need each year, just like this turkey,” Childs-Sanford said. “We hope everyone’s Thanksgiving holiday is filled with joy and gratitude.
Wild turkey patient at Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine has reason for gratitude. News Release. Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine. November 22, 2021.