Flight May Be Possible Again for Grounded Pelican Thanks to BluePearl


TAMPA, Fla. (Mar. 28, 2014) – Dr. Julia Shakeri, a resident in avian medicine and surgery with BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tampa reaches down to the pelican’s esophagus and upper stomach to make sure there are no more bones inside. (BluePearl Veterinary Partners photo)

TAMPA, Fla. – An adult female pelican, who was brought in to BluePearl Veterinary Partners specialty and emergency hospital in Tampa Monday for being unable to fly, may soon be able to fly again thanks to life-saving care she received at BluePearl.

photo(93)Dr. Julia Shakeri, a resident in avian medicine and surgery with BluePearl’s avian and exotic medicine service, and Amy Johnson, a technician with BluePearl’s avian and exotic medicine service, provided treatment to the bird they named Angler.

Once at BluePearl, X-rays revealed that the pelican’s esophagus and stomach were full of bones. Shakeri was able to reach into the bird’s esophagus and stomach to remove all of the bones.

As part of the life-saving treatment, the pelican has been given IV fluids, pain medication and antibiotics.

The bird’s stomach was so full of bones, she was unable to eat, which left her emaciated and dehydrated. Additionally, when she would try to fly, the bonesinside of her stomach would poke her, making flight extremely painful.

pelican with bones in stomach

Before Removal of Bones

pelican without bones in stomach

After Removal

“Unfortunately, people who fish think they are helping the pelicans when they throw them scraps, but often, the birds cannot tolerate the boney scraps the same way they can when they get an entire fish,” said Shakeri. “It’s best not to feed pelicans or wildlife at all, but if people decide to feed them anyways, making sure it’s either an entire fish, or only the meat would help to prevent injuries like this from occurring.”

The pelican is scheduled to go to a wildlife rehabber Friday and will have a long road to recovery.

About BluePearl Veterinary Partners
BluePearl Veterinary Partners employs more than 1,700 people including more than 450 veterinarians. BluePearl hospitals offer referral-only, specialty care services and most offer 24-hour emergency care. BluePearl does not provide primary care. The company is one of the world’s principal providers of approved veterinary residency and internship programs. BluePearl also participates in clinical trials that investigate the effectiveness of new veterinary drugs and treatments, providing pet families access to cutting-edge medicine that is not yet commercially available. BluePearl is headquartered in Tampa, Fla.