Bee Sting’s Story – Part Four- “Bee Sting’s Treatment Diary”

Bee Sting The ActionsDay OneBird and Exptic Animal Hospital Logo

More than 220 bee stings were removed from a very stressed and sore Bee Sting.  She was treated with an anti-inflammatory, pain medication and a Vit B Complex injection, as well as an anti-histamine and a drip for fluid intake.

Day Two

Bee Sting’s face was very swollen, with upper respiratory noises, although she was standing up and able to move around.  She was also treated with the same drugs as Day One and an antibiotic was added to fight any infection.

Day Three

Bee Sting’s face and neck were even more swollen although her breathing had improved, she was also more alert.  She was treated with pain medication, antibiotics, and medicine to keep her digestive tract functioning properly as well as a drip for fluid intake.

Day Four

Bee Sting was starting to make her feelings known about being treated, she was very strong and biting when we approached her.  Her face was still swollen but she was eating.  She was treated with pain medication; antibiotics and medicine to keep her gut functioning as well as a drip to manage her fluid levels.

Day Five

We all got really worried, Bee Sting’s Blood pressure dropped and she was less responsive to us.  Her tests showed that while her Uric Acid and Bile levels were normal, her Haematocrit (the ratio of the volume of red blood cells to the total volume of blood) was decreased, her monocytes (white blood cells) were greatly increased showing inflammation.  Bee Sting was treated with the same medication as on the previous days.

Bee Sting Day Seven @ VulPro
Bee Sting Day Seven @ VulPro

Day Six

A huge part of saving wild animals that are being treated is juggling their emotional and psychological well-being as well as their physical health.  Bee Sting was showing signs of depression and because of this VulPro wanted to take her home; to see other vultures and help stimulate normal behaviour.  Bee Sting was treated with a drip, antibiotics and pain killers.

Day 7

Bee Sting was back at VulPro, as hoped being around other vultures, seemed to have improved her mood.  She was interested in food and was interacting with the other vultures.

Bee Sting at VulPro day 7
Bee Sting at VulPro day 7

Day 34

Bee Sting was seen to have severe fly strike, where flies have laid eggs in the wound and there are maggots in the wound.  Maggots are good at eating all the rotting or dead tissue, but dangerous because they will eat all the healthy tissue too and can result in death of an animal.

Granulation Tissue on Bee Sting Day 34
Granulation Tissue on Bee Sting Day 34are maggots in the wound.  Maggots are good at eating all the rotting or dead tissue, but dangerous because they will eat all the healthy tissue too and can result in death of an animal.

Bee Sting’s wounds showed granulation tissue on her left cheek and her entire skull was covered in hard dead (necrotic) tissue.  Her right cheek had skin sloughing off it with dead tissue and her jaw bone was exposed.

Bee Sting with Fly Strike, her skin is sloughing off, there is necrotic tissue and the Maxillary bone is exposed
Bee Sting with Fly Strike, her skin is sloughing off, there is necrotic tissue and the
Maxillary bone is exposed

Bee Sting was treated by manually removing all the maggots, for her safety not even one could be left behind.  The wounds were cleaned and she was treated with a dewormer  called Ivermectin, which would kill any maggots that may have been missed.  As a precaution, Bee Sting was hospitalised again and kept in a fly proof room because it was mid-summer and the peak of South Africa’s fly season.

Day 35

We were so relieved to see that Bee Sting was doing well, even though her skull was still covered in dead tissue; she showed signs of healthy granulation tissue.  Her right eye was working properly, which would be vital to her ability to survive out in the wild. Cape Vultures rely on their sight to identify their food sources – being able to see up to 6.5km their eyesight is phenomenal.

Day 36

Bee Sting with F10 Cream covering her wounds
Bee Sting with F10 Cream covering her wounds

We discovered dead skin over Bee Sting’s crop although the crop itself was not damaged.  The dead tissue on her face was removed, healthy granulation tissue was found and she was treated with F10 Cream.  The good news was that Bee Sting was eating well, which was helping her to heal and stay strong.

 

Vulture hero - Bee Sting @ VulPro
Vulture hero – Bee Sting @ VulPro

 

Day 37

F10 Wound Spray was sprayed over Bee Sting’s wounds and she was put in the outside aviaries and seemed to be happier in herself.

Day 38

A Cape Vulture’s Tear Duct (Lachrymal duct) runs similarly to ours, Bee Sting’s ended up opening onto her face because of all the dead

Bee Sting Lachrymal duct repair
Bee Sting Lachrymal duct repair

and damaged tissue and skin.  It was repaired by surgically placing a feeding tube from where the tear duct opens in the inner eye to the choana (An opening at the back of the nasal passage (there is a left and a right side) that empties into the space behind the nose called the nasopharynx).  Wound granulation tissue (healing tissue) from the surrounding areas was placed over the feeding tube to create a new tear duct.   The area was also partially covered with a skin graft called a pedicle flap and the rest of the wound was covered with a dressing called Granuflex.

Day 60

Johannesburg Eye Hospital
Johannesburg Eye Hospital

Bee Sting had a visit from Dr Isaac Venter from the Johannesburg Animal Eye Hospital, who looked at her right eye to establish how well it was working.  We were very relieved to hear that Bee Sting still had vision in her right eye and that no surgery was required.  Although she had lost a small amount of peripheral vision, it would not affect her ability to live wild.

Bee Sting post release at VulPro
Bee Sting post release at VulPro

Bee Sting Flies Free

1st February 2015, Bee Sting is released at VulPro, making Bee Sting truly one of our miracle vultures.  For a long time we weren’t sure that she would make it and to have her recover well enough to fly free and live wild again is a very special feeling.

Dr Francois Le Grange is open to being contacted should anyone require assistance of this nature when treating vultures, he may be emailed at: lf.legrange@gmail.com

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