First bird-to-bird blood transfusion in Estonia saves white-tailed eagle's life (2)

Madis Leivits, a doctoral student at the Estonia University of Life Sciences, holding a sea eagle that was released to the wild back in 2012. (Postimees/Scanpix)
1/29/2015 9:59 AM
Category: Environment

The Estonian University of Life Sciences reports that their animal clinic administered blood transfusion to an avian patient.

The ill white-tailed eagle was brought to the university's animal clinic on January 11, after being rescued in Kuusalu parish in northern Estonia. Madis Leivits, a doctoral student who examined the bird, concluded that the bird was apathetic, lacked coordination and was holding its head in an unnatural position. The bird was also severely underweight.

The blood analysis showed that the eagle was in a condition that usually means an instant euthanization. However, the vets decided to give the bird a fighting chance by performing a blood transfusion from another white-tailed eagle.

"The procedure improved the bird’s condition noticeably and was an important stimulus for surviving the critical period“, Leivits said, adding that currently, the bird’s status is stable, but it will take a long time for the bird to fully recover.

Blood transfusions between organisms are not a rarity as they are used on a daily basis in human and animal medicine, but this was the first time in Estonia the procedure was done on birds.

M. Oll

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