It’s been busy in the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital!

Last updated: March 22, 2016

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Dolly the Brown Booby

Three photos of a brown booby showing pre-surgery, during surgery and after surgery recoveryDolly was seen hassling fisherman at Shornecliffe trying to snare herself an easy dinner.

A passer-by watching the birds antics noticed that Dolly was injured. She had sustained an injury to the back of her neck leaving a gaping hole bigger than a 50c piece.

The rescue team got on the job and with a perfectly timed net capture and she was safely in the hands of the RSPCA team.

On admission to the hospital, Dolly was anaesthetised for a full assessment and health profile to assess whether she was strong enough to survive surgery to repair the wound and if that would even be possible. She seemed strong and otherwise healthy so the veterinary team got to work to close the wound.

During the surgery it was found that Dolly had a rupture to the airsac located on the back of her head and neck which would have prevented her from diving for fish and hence why she was after a free feed from the fisherman. The airsac was repaired and the wound debrided and closed.

Dolly recovered well from the surgery and is now receiving intensive care round the clock to try to pull her through; the chance of infection and other complications is very high.

The future is looking up for Dolly but there will be several more weeks of rehab before Dolly is 100% again.

Ted the Koala

Night shift at the RSPCA wildlife hospital is busy but its not very often someone walks in with a large bundle of Koala at midnight.

Ted had been found ambling down the road at Redbank Plains. The finder noticed that he was tentative to put any weight on one of his front paws and so grabbed a big blanket out of the car and scooped him up.

The night nurse got to work giving him a once over and could find nothing but a graze on Ted’s front left paw. He was set up for the night with a comfy bed and a bunch of eucalyptus leaves to be monitored. The next morning Ted received the full treatment from the veterinary team and the result……100% A-ok, his wrist must have just been sprained.

Ted has now been released in bushland nearby to his original location with an ear tag and microchip. This means that Ted can be monitored in the wild and his medical history on record in case he ever requires the help of a kind human hand again.

Three photos of Ted. One of the Koala climbing a tree, another of him sitting and a third of him during surgery

Cirque the Masked Owl

This beautiful owl was hunting near the ground at Pullenvale when she became snagged on barbwire. Cirque’s struggling only made things worse and caused more and more damage and greater entanglement.

It wasn’t until the next day that she was found and a specialised wildlife hero was notified to tend to her. The barbwire had to be cut and Cirque transported to the RSPCA wildlife hospital still impaled. She was anaesthetised and the veterinary team got to work to free the wing and assess the damage. The news was not good, the barb had mutilated the delicate membrane of her wing that helps her fly silently enabling her to catch prey. We would have to watch the wound closely over the next few days.

Sadly it soon became evident that she had damaged the ligaments in her shoulder and she would never fly again. She did not cope well in the hospital, Masked owls are very secretive birds and the close proximity to humans was extremely stressful for her. The heartbreaking decision was made to put her to sleep as prolonging her stay in captivity was not going to change the outcome.

Cirque’s injuries could have so easily been prevented, check out for more information.

Two photos of a masked owl at the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital. The first is the owl during surgery and the second is the owl recovering after surgery, standing on a perch with wings outstretched

Astrid the Australian Hobby

The bird of prey recovers on a blue blanket in the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital.

Reflective windows can be problems for wildlife as they reflect the sky so that:

  • it seems to stretch on forever.
  • they see competition or love in their own reflection.

However, birds of prey usually avoid this danger, but not Astrid.

She was admitted to the RSPCA wildlife hospital concussed, resulting in severe ataxia and the impact had caused bruising to her chest involving her lungs.

She spent several days with us, the concussion resolved but she still showed evidence of respiratory distress. The decision was made to refer her to the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for further rehabilitation with their raptor specialists.

It was discovered that internal parasites had entered her airsacs and were causing the breathing issues. She was in the right hands, the Currumbin team got to work finding the worms using an endoscope and removing them by hand – a very tedious task!

She recovered well from the procedure and spent several weeks building strength before returning to the RSPCA wildlife hospital.

Our dedicated wildlife volunteers drove Astrid back to her home in Cleveland the very next day. Working with other hospitals and wildlife care groups means that we all achieve the very best outcome for every animal.

Apple the Brushtail Possum

A possum rests on a pile of gum leaves and flowers

Apple came to the RSPCA from a school at camp hill.

A few years ago Apple took up residence in the school cleaners cupboard and from that point on she had a human friend to bring her a treat every now and then as well as a safe place to sleep.

The cleaner noticed that Apple had some wounds on her back and their close relationship meant she was able to bathe the wounds with dilute Betadine. She noticed they were not getting any better after a few days and so called the RSPCA for advice.

A wildlife hero attended the scene and realised Apple would need veterinary treatment. She was admitted to the wildlife hospital where it was obvious that the wounds had been caused by a dog attack, one was particularly deep and required her to have antibiotics to help fight the infection. Her wounds were bandaged and she spent a week with us enjoying lots of different species of native browse.

Once the wounds were on the mend Apple was sent back to the School to continue treatment with her human friend. She was given her antibiotics orally each day by the cleaner. This unique situation meant that Apple was able to be returned to her territory very quickly which is important for territorial species like brushtail possums.

Sulo the Ringtial Possum

A ringtail possum rests on a blanket next to a bucket full of native plants and flowersThere are many man made hazards for wildlife, but for Sulo there was none more dangerous than the humble garbage bin. The bin had been left open and had partly filled with water during recent rainfall.

Ringtail possums use their prehensile tail like a fifth arm but even with the extra grip he slipped into the bin. He spent the night clinging to floating rubbish and scrambling to climb the bins slippery walls in the freezing cold water. He was found the next day when the scratching caught the homeowners attention.

On admission to the RSPCA wildlife hospital Sulo was very cold, lethargic and had inhaled water into his lungs, which could easily progress to pneumonia. He was warmed up and started on a course of antibiotics. Sulo’s fighting spirit continued and soon had him on the mend.

After a week he was ready to go back home to Newstead, the finder drove in to collect him and assured us the bin would remain closed at all times – they were so very grateful to have Sulo home, alive and well.


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