Poisoned goose gets lifesaving treatment at VCA in Seattle

Published by VCA Inc. in Canada, Goose, Lifesaving, PAWS Seattle, VCA Animal Hospitals, Wildlife December 19, 2016

VCA Animal Hospitals across the country form partnerships with animal shelters and rescues to save the lives of pets, wildlife and those who need a second chance at life. This story highlights the combined effort of VCA Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle and PAWS to save the life of a poisoned goose.

Poisoned Goose, VCA SeattleBack in May 2016, a Canada Goose was found by the side of the road. He suffered from a wing injury, was unable to fly and was in desperate need of medical attention. This goose was taken to PAWS and dubbed Patient 16_1359. The results of blood tests revealed a high level of lead in his blood–six times the safe level for humans. Also,radiographs showed he had ingested a lead pellet.

The PAWS team knew it was important to get treatment for the goose and quickly. The goose was taken to VCA Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle so the team could perform an endoscopy to locate and remove the pellet.

Treating the Canada Goose

Poisoned Goose receives endoscopy from VCA veterinary staffThe PAWS veterinary team then transferred the goose to VCA and discussed the case. Dr. John Huckabee, PAWS Wildlife Veterinarian  stated,

“The bird was shot, probably reached around and swallowed the pellet”.

Dr. Polly Peterson, DVM, DACVIM at VCA noted, “We find the anatomy differences between the birds and other wild animals and the cats and dogs we do everyday to be really interesting”

According to Dr. Peterson, the PAWS Veterinary team often comes to VCA Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle to perform anesthesia on the birds. After anesthetizing the goose and using an endoscope to locate the pellet, it was discovered that the pellet was stuck in the gizzard, or second stomach. Although the pellet was hard to spot among the rocks and other debris in the stomach, Shawnee Guyer, a veterinary technician suggested that a radiograph (X-RAY) be taken while the endoscope was inside the bird.

Poisoned goose gets wing inspected by veterinarianA poisoned goose no more

With that x-ray, it was easy to locate the pellet and remove it safely from the goose. Dr. Huckabee also examined the injured wing and determined that it was already in the process of healing. The goose recovered from the anesthesia and was transported back to the PAWS facility. There he continued healing, now lead and toxin free.  Thanks to the partnership of PAWS and VCA, the goose has been released back into the wild and another animal receives a second chance at life.

This video takes you behind the scenes with PAWS and VCA Seattle as they perform an endoscopy on the patient.


*Please note that this video does show detailed images of the endoscopy itself, so viewer discretion is advised.


About VCA Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle
VCA Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle, located in Lynnwood, offers 24-hour emergency and critical care with on-site veterinary specialists under one roof. Our facility mirrors what you will find at a human medical center. Our team approach to veterinary medicine is where emergency veterinarians and board-certified specialists work together in support of our mission to improve the quality of life for pets and their owners.
About PAWS
PAWS is a champion for animals—rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife, sheltering and adopting homeless cats and dogs, and educating people to make a better world for animals and people. PAWS is located in Lynnwood, Washington, approximately 20 miles north of Seattle. A regional organization, PAWS focuses our work in Washington State and the Northwest.