Patient #15861, turkey vulture, found in Rowan County NC
Diagnosis: ulna and radius fractures of right wing
Immediately we realized that the fractures were clearly much more chronic and scarred than we originally thought. But, there was still motion. We made an incision over the radius fracture, bluntly dissected down, and found both bone ends quickly. We placed an IM pin and the resulting alignment of the fracture was very good.
There was a large protruding hard mass along the caudal edge of the ulna near the radius fracture. Dr. Scott thought it was due to the ulna fracture but that fracture was much more distal according to the radiograph. Once we located the ulna fracture site, we found that it was very stable and had a large amount of callus formation. We decided to leave it alone. Overall, things could have gone better but, all things considered, we think the bird is much better off.
Injured vultures can be difficult because they are able to scavenge on the ground and therefore can survive much longer than other species of raptors. Once they are finally captured, their fractures are normally healed improperly and they are not repairable.