I went up to Cheshire for a few days to visit my cousin and her baby. On Tuesday morning, while she was putting the two Little Owls out on the lawn, Libby noticed that Tundra, the snowy owl, hadn’t eaten her quail from yesterday. Unlike her, we thought. Libby gave her some chicks, as she knows she likes them, but still she wouldn’t eat, sitting hunkered down in the back of her avery.
10 minutes and two phone calls to the vet later, we were bundling owl into box and baby into car seat, and were on our way to the vet.
On arriving at the avian vet at Knutsford, we chatted to the vet about her symptoms and what it could be. One thing that came up was aspergillis – a lung infection similar to farmer’s lung, near enough a death sentence for a bird. The vet took her into his room and we waited outside; owls can take it personally if you don’t stop the vet doing something unpleasant, or if you help them, we couldn’t go in in case she got angry at Libby. The vet ran a blood test and said that her red blood cell count was very low – it should be 45% and it was only. 8% -so he said he would run another test and let us know the results, as it would be half an hour.
We headed back to Congleton and visited Nan and Granddad, where we had a nice lunch and Nan cooed over the baby. While we were there the vet phoned; the blood results had come through and Tundra had tested positive for malaria!
Not what anyone had expected! Apparently it’s common in species from either of the poles, as they have no immunity to it whatsoever! So, many frantic phonecalls later and we were dashing drown the motorway to collect some blood from Tundras parents at Gentleshaw wildlife rescue.
1 blood transfusion,many antimalarial drugs and. 2 days later, Tundra isn’t out of the woods yet. She is, however, doing much better. Her red blood cell count had gone up to 13% this mrning and she’ss looki g up!