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Saturday, March 9th


Saturday Morning


Diet Doctors Workshop


Diet Doctors Workshop
Stephanie Herman, Audubon Society of Portland, OR

Good nutrition impacts all aspects of our patients’ health and well-being and is a cornerstone on which high-quality animal care is built. As wildlife professionals, we face challenges designing and assessing nutritional programs due to our patients’ incredibly varied (and often understudied) natural histories. Since we can rarely fully replicate wild foods and feeding methods, we must create alternatives and then depend on our own judgment and assessments to determine the success of our practices. The scenario-based workshop provides the opportunity to exercise practical skills and decision-making in a supportive and collaborative environment.


RACE Approved Veterinary Seminar
Sponsored by Orphaned Wildlife Rescue Center (OWRC)
Erica A. Miller, DVM—Moderator


RACE Approved Veterinary Seminar
Julia Ponder, DVM, MPH, The Raptor Center, MN 
Mark Mitchell, DVM, MS, PhD, DECZM, Louisiana State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, LA

This eight-hour seminar is limited to licensed veterinarians and veterinary technicians. Discussion includes nutritional considerations for hospitalized reptiles, environmental toxicants in raptors, emerging infectious diseases of North American reptiles, avian anesthesia and analgesia, reptile anesthesia and analgesia, and avian orthopedics. A hands-on lab focuses on orthopedic repair of the avian pectoral limb. Limited enrollment, advanced registration required.


Bat Rehabilitation Seminar


Insectivorous Bat Rehabilitation Seminar
Renee Schott, DVM, Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota, MN
Gail Buhl, Partners for Wildlife, MN
Laura Stastney, Nebraska Wildlife Rehab, Inc., NE

This interactive five-hour seminar encourages participation and discussion. All aspects of bat rehabilitation are covered from the basics to advanced techniques. By the end of the laboratory, participants should be familiar with bat anatomy, be comfortable identifying bat species using a dichotomous key, have practiced doing a physical exam on a bat, be able to give subcutaneous fluids, and practice handling and bat restraint on cadavers. Midwest species are the focus of this seminar. Proof of rabies vaccine or protective titer required within two years of March 9, 2019. Limited enrollment, advanced registration required.


General Rehabilitation Session
Sponsored by PetAg
Lacie Jett-Ricketts—Moderator


Overcoming the Human Factor: Optimizing Outcomes in Wildlife Rehabilitation
Michelle Willette, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, The Raptor Center, MN
Handout 1 - added 3/14/19  Handout 2 - added 3/14/19
Handout 3 - added 3/14/19

Wildlife rehabilitators admit more than 500,000 wild animals annually. A significant number of animals are non-releasable and need to be euthanized. Due to physical, behavioral, or management limitations, only a few non-releasable wild animals are appropriate for captive placement. Animal welfare is improved when veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators work together to diagnose, treat, and when appropriate, euthanize or place animals. Best practices and evidence-based medicine should be the basis for decision criteria, supported by appropriate regulatory policy. Developing tools can aid in the decision-making process for wildlife rehabilitators, strengthen the relationship between rehabilitators and veterinarians, and provide guidance to regulatory authorities in creating policy.


Swifts, Hummingbirds, & Mice, Oh My! Rehabilitation of (Not So) Tiny Proportions
Stephanie Ellis, Wild Care, Inc., MA    
Handout 2 - added 3/14/19

They are some of the smallest patients we see, yet the most challenging for which to care. This lecture shares successes and challenges of the rehabilitation of orphaned chimney swifts, white-footed mice, and ruby-throated hummingbirds. Discussion includes diet, common ailments, and husbandry and release guidelines, while hopefully making the rehabilitation of these native species less daunting. This fun and informative talk leaves participants feeling prepared to take on the tiniest of patients when they arrive this summer.


The Final Step: Ideas to Create a Stress-free Release
Emily Meredith, PAWS Wildlife Center, WA         
Handout - added 3/14/19

Wildlife releases are the final step and with some species, it can be quite a challenge. Healthy wild animals such as deer, bobcats, and river otters can be difficult to contain and release without causing additional stress and potential injury to the animal. This presentation shows some creative ways PAWS has created to overcome the complexity of capturing these animals. With these methods, we have eliminated the need for manual restraint during the capture and have reduced the animal and human stress that comes with the task of capturing wildlife for release. 


Behavioral Aspects & Assessments in Rehabilitation  
Lynn Miller, PhD, South Florida Wildlife Center, FL
Matt Anderson, Fund for Animals Wildlife Center, CA   

“Careful, it will get imprinted!” We often hear this phrase, yet do we understand what it means? Or, “Don’t allow those squirrels to get too friendly. They will never become wild animals if you do!” This lecture explores imprinting, innate behavior, and learned behavioral components such as habituation and adaptive behavior. Discussion also addresses differences in species to reduce long-term or permanent abnormal behavioral shifts, while encouraging behaviors that help our patients recover faster. Additionally, the lecture focuses on understanding what constitutes different stages of early behavioral development and/or recovery prior to release. The main challenges we face are born from the fact that some behaviors are easy to determine whilst others are more subtle. Specific cases are cited and behavioral scoresheets provided to aid in this process to maximize release success.


Aerial Wildlife Rescues
Jayanthi Kallam, Avian and Reptile Rehabilitation Trust, Karnataka, India    

Wildlife (mainly birds and bats) often gets stuck on trees or dangle from electric wires, cables, and cellular towers. These rescues are often complex and involve meticulous planning due to the potential high-risk to the rescuer and the animal being rescued. Our organization uses a variety of low-cost rescue equipment and developed protocols to ensure safe retrieval of wildlife needing aerial rescues. We present several case studies of aerial rescues we conducted in Bangalore, India and share the triage and rehabilitation process we follow before repatriating them back to the wild.


Raptor Session
Sponsored by APLIC
Maggie McCartney—Moderator


Rehabilitation Research Enhances Understanding of Raptor Ecology
Travis Wilcoxen, Millikin University, IL    

Birds of prey represent a common type of animal in wildlife rehabilitation facilities, but their inclusion in ecophysiology research is uncommon. Since January 2014, the Illinois Raptor Center (IRC) and biology faculty from Millikin University have collaborated to use physiological research to enhance rehabilitation efforts. The rehabilitation research led to questions about raptor ecology and the value of sampling the hundreds of birds admitted to the IRC annually. Our collaboration improved rehabilitation and generated new insights into ecotoxicology, stress physiology, and wildlife disease.


Principles of Raptor Cage Design Update
Adele Moore, TreeHouse Wildlife Center, IL     

Constructing a cage for raptors in rehabilitation requires planning to ensure the cage contains all the components required for training raptors for release. The author developed a checklist of what is needed in both the planning and construction stages. In 2015, TreeHouse designed and completed a Raptor Rehabilitation Complex in which most of the birds’ rehabilitation stages are conducted under one roof with maximum flexibility. With any new cage design there are elements that work, and some that do not. A recap of the original design is followed by subsequent corrections.  


“Nestcue”: Renesting Birds of Prey
Jacques Nuzzo, Illinois Raptor Center, IL
Handout 1 - added March 20, 2019
Handout 2 - added March 20, 2019

“Nestcue” (nest - rescue) is the name that the Illinois Raptor Center has given to the method of putting young birds of prey back into nests or rebuilding nests for the parents. We use high angle rope techniques used in the recreational tree climbing world to access the canopy and have developed a protocol for how, when, and why to renest. In addition to installing nests and nest boxes, we also place video recording devices and retrieve the footage later to give us insight on feeding habits and success of the Nestcue. The Illinois Raptor Center has a very high success rate with this program. 


The Raptor Rehabilitation/Falconry Interface: Synergy for Release     
Laura Edmunds, Indiana Raptor Center, IN

Supplemental falconry training can positively affect (and is sometimes essential to) post-release survival of large falcons, merlins, golden eagles, and special-circumstance buteos, accipiters, and owls. To help determine which raptors benefit most from a falconer’s pre-release training, we suggest candidate identifiers, including age, species natural history, precipitating circumstances, and target habitat. Also discussed are recent changes in regulations that encourage falconers to assist rehabilitators, and ways we can improve the rehabilitator/falconer relationship by mutual understanding of history and common goals.


Continuing Your Care: The Importance of Sending to Feather Repositories    
Crystal Sharlow-Schaefer, Wisconsin Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center & Native America Humane Society, WI    
Handout 1
Handout 2
Handout 3 - added March 21, 2019

Feathers are necessary for religious and ceremonial use by Native Americans. Sending feathers to feather repositories helps prevent black-market trade, while also saving other wild birds. Learn from the informed perspective of a seasoned wildlife rehabilitator who is also a tribal member. Discussion includes clarification on regulations as well as tried-and-true practices that make sending feathers a cathartic experience for the rehabilitator, allowing you to honor the lives of birds that do not survive rehabilitative care while also respecting their cultural significance to Native Americans. This presentation focuses on non-eagle feather repositories but will also touch on the Federal Eagle Repository.

Saturday Afternoon


One Health Session
Jenny Schlieps—Moderator

Use of Medications & Vaccines: A One-Health Approach         
Ernesto Dominguez, DVM, Wildlife Center of Virginia
Handout - added 3/14/19

Medicines and vaccines have an important role in the prevention and treatment of disease in humans and animals. However, it is because of their benefits that medication use in animals may also have unintended effects on wildlife, humans, and the environment. Pharmaceutical compounds are designed either to be highly active and interact with receptors in humans and animals or to be toxic for many infectious organisms, including bacteria, fungi, and parasites.

But this does not mean that the compounds only affect these living forms. Judicious use of medications is a responsibility of rehabilitators, veterinarians, biologists, and physicians. A single dose of ivermectin can be more harmful than beneficial to an individual and the environment.


Antimicrobial Stewardship in Wildlife Rehabilitation   
Theresa Knoblock, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, MA            

With increasing antibiotic resistance, judicious use of antibiotics is ever more important. This presentation aims to discuss how to triage patients and justify use of antibiotics. It will cover the most likely pathogens in common presenting injuries, how to perform simple in-house diagnostics to guide antibiotic use, and briefly discuss the overall implications of antibiotics entering the food chain.


Antimicrobial Resistance in Wildlife    
Karra Pierce, DVM, Wildlife Center of Virginia, VA   
Handout - added 3/14/19

The development of antimicrobial resistance is of increasing global concern for both human, domestic animal, and wildlife diseases. Judicious use of antimicrobials is paramount to maintain efficacy. Bacterial culture and sensitivity is the gold standard method to diagnose and treat bacterial infections, however, in a wildlife rehabilitation setting, infections are commonly treated empirically with antimicrobials. In this retrospective study, we reviewed culture and sensitivities performed at the Wildlife Center of Virginia over 10 years to determine common anti-microbial resistance profiles, which will help to guide empirical therapy.


The Ripple Effect: Water Quality & Wildlife Health
Heather Barron, DVM, CROW, FL         

This talk highlights the effects that environmental water quality has on One Health, with a focus on the impact on wildlife health. In conservation medicine—the interrelationship between human, environmental, and wildlife health—water quality is a common denominator that should concern everyone. Specifically, discussion includes harmful algal blooms, impacts on seabirds, and the latest research on how to better define and treat this problem. Additionally, this lecture covers endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and how they are impacting our wildlife.


General Rehabilitation II Session
Molly Brennan—Moderator


WARNING: Toxic/Hazardous Substances Shall NOT be Used in This Workplace!       
Lauren Caruso, PAWS Wildlife Center, WA   
Emily Meredith, PAWS Wildlife Center, WA

Newspaper, cardboard, dog toys, flowering plants—these items make excellent enrichment, right? What about petroleum, phthalates, cyanide, and lead? This interactive presentation covers both natural and artificial enrichment items and the ingredients that may be harmful to animals.


Re-Purposing Tri-State’s Oiled Wildlife Modular Cage Designs
Michelle Knapp, Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, DE
Dennis Davis, Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, Inc, DE

Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc. has made improvements to its oiled wildlife caging to create flexible, multipurpose, lightweight, and inexpensive modular units. Re-purposing cages originally designed for oiled wildlife in temporary facilities for non-oiled patients has increased flexibility in small rooms in permanent buildings. Transitioning from the days of heavy wood, tarps, and metal to lightweight PVC, marine-grade vinyl, and knotless marine netting has led to improvements in medical care, husbandry, and overall cost. Follow the story that has led to these upgrades and modifications in Tri-State’s Wild Bird Clinic.


Building Bridges & Going to the Zoo  
Halley Buckanoff, North Carolina Zoo VHS Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, NC
Kai Williams, The IWRC, OR

Collaboration is critical to reaching our mission, whether it is between wildlife centers or reaching out to a government agency. Zoos, museums, schools, governments, B corporations, and non-governmental organizations all bring opportunities to help us help wildlife. Wildlife rehabilitators also have an untapped resource in zoos and aquariums. These institutions are continuing to move toward a conservation action mission. Not only can they help provide permanent placement, but they are also ensuring the most cutting-edge care from veterinary medical innovations to husbandry and nutrition. Learn methods to initiate collaboration and see examples of collaborations in action.