Friday, October 16, 2009

CROW transfers wildlife patients to new hospital

In a well-orchestrated move 150 wildlife patients were placed in cages and carriers and transferred to Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc. (CROW) new hospital this week.

Staff are elated with the roomier, more efficient clinic. Though the clinic was built and finished several months ago, CROW had to wait to get their Certificate of Occupancy in order to move. But after getting the CO in place a few weeks ago the staff has been working hard to transfer wildlife patients and medical equipment to the new state-of-the-art building.

One by one reptiles, mammals including baby squirrels and birds were carefully moved in carriers and cages to their new patient quarters.

"It's very exciting," said Dr. PJ Deitschel, Clinic Director and Staff Veterinarian for the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc. (CROW). "It's definitely time to move on."

The old clinic which will be torn down leaving more space on the grounds served as the CROW wildlife hospital for 25 years, Deitschel said.

But transferring patients and sensitive equipment and machinery is not an overnight process. The wildlife had to be transferred during their regular treatment times as to not disturb their daily routine or handle them more than usual. One of the keys to rehabilitating wildlife is to have as little human contact with them as possible so that they may heal and return to living successful animal lives in their habitats.

"A lot of planning went into this whole transition from design to occupancy," Deitschel said.

An increase in patient load has resulted in CROW building the new wildlife hospital.

CROW treats more than 4,000 wildlife patients a year. Deitschel said she expects the staff to treat about 3 to 400 patients more this year than in 2008. That's an estimated five to 10 percent increase. The increased patient load is attributed to trauma, including getting hit by cars or boats, injuries involved with fishing and orphaned animals. A greater loss of habitat contributes to human and animal interaction which in most cases helps cause the injuries to wildlife. Deitschel said 90 to 95 percent of most wildlife cases have to do with human/animal interaction.

The clinic will allow more space for wildlife and to better meet their individual needs.
And since the clinic staff prescribe to more hands-on and integrated western and eastern medicines, fancy, expensive medical machinery will not fill up the space in their clinic.

"We don't need a lot of bells and whistles," Deitschel said.

Though CROW has upgraded to a digital X-ray machine to get a better look at animals without handling them as much as the traditional X-ray machines required, the clinic staff does not want for often bulky, pricey diagnostic equipment.

Deitschel said they have a pretty full tool box, including well-trained clinicians who use their indepth training and senses to guide their care.

"Lots of equipment doesn't mean better treatment," Deitschel said. "Look at your patient, use all of your senses."

To get a look at life in the clinic, residents and visitors can go to CROW's new state-of-the-art Healing Winds Visitor Education Center and watch patients through interactive cameras. The Center located at 3883 San-Cap Road offers a look inside the world of wildlife medicine. Through exhibits, videos and interactive displays visitors will learn about the 300 species of reptiles, mammals and birds that have been treated at CROW over the past 40 years, the reason for their injuries and how humans can help. The adjoining J. Howard Wood Gift Shop offers all wildlife related items with 100 percent of the profits going toward patient care. For more information, call 395-0050 or visit online at

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