Dr. Karen Shenoy
treats a variety of wild animals, not only birds, as a staff veterinarian at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota
, in the Twin Cities area.Dr. Shenoy's
first piece of advice for practitioners who receive a wild animal is: "Put your own safety first,and the safety of the other patients in the clinic."
How to proceed depends on the location of the clinic, in terms of local rules and local resources.Minnesota veterinarians can possess a wild animal that falls under state laws for 48 hours before transferring it to a rehabilitator.Around the Twin Cities, veterinarians can transfer an animal to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center right away.
In areas without a wildlife center, the veterinarian might want to treat the animal.Dr. Shenoy
said practitioners should consider their experience and equipment in deciding how to handle an animal.
"Minnesota is one of the states that is pretty forward in wildlife rehabilitation," Dr. Shenoy
said, adding that some states are still establishing permit systems.Dr. Shenoy
mentioned that the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
began in 1979 as a student group at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine
gives lectures to veterinary students at the college on basic wildlife medicine and rehabilitation.Some other veterinary colleges offer similar lectures for students.Veterinarians with the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association
, including Dr. Shenoy
, also visit veterinary colleges to offer the NWRA Wildlife Medicine Course.
Interest in wildlife medicine seems to be increasing among veterinary students, Dr. Shenoy
said, but the typical clinic is not the ideal place for wildlife.When possible, she
said, the best approach might be to send people who bring in wild animals directly to a nearby rehabilitator.
"The basic take-home message is know who you can refer people to," she