Swans With Lead Poisoning

Two Trumpeter Swans were admitted. Both have lead poisoning. Swans encounter lead differently than Bald Eagles. Swans long necks allow them to eat aquatic weeds from the bottom of lakes, ponds and rivers. For 150 years before the lead ban for waterfowl was enacted hunters used lead shot over water. Those lead pellets rest on the bottom of those bodies of water even now. Lead does not degrade. In times of low water or when turbulence occurs in the water, the lead pellets are accessible to the swans. Swans need small pebbles to aid digestion. They cannot tell the difference between pebbles or lead bits. Once in the digestive system the soft metal lead degrades and is absorbed into the blood stream and stores the bones of the bird. 

Trumpeter Swan #718-16 is a cygnet or young swan. She is from originally from MN and was found walking along a rural road. She had a significant limp, a broken wing and seemed weak. The water in the area was frozen. She was very lucky to happen upon people that lived in the area. They had been watching her hoping she was going to be able to fly away before the water froze. Our thanks to Jamie, Deb and Jody for rescuing her, the Trumpeter Swan Society for making the contacts and Barry Wallace for transporting her to REGI for care. This is the young swan that was filmed in the sweet video at our Antigo Vet Clinic on 12-13-16 with our veterinarian Dr. Sarah Lautzenhiser. She has lead poisoning, a broken left wing and a broken toe on her right foot. She has been through some hard times. We are delighted she is responding well to chelation therapy for lead poisoning, her toe is healing well. Unfortunately, the wing healed while she was in the wild. She is not releasable as she is unable to fly. She will remain in captivity either in an educational facility or breeding facility. 

Trumpeter Swan #726-16 is an adult, likely male Trumpeter Swan. He is from Foote Lake, MI and unfortunately, he has severe lead poisoning. The blood lead was too high to read on our analyzer. We are in our second day of treatment with him. He was rescued by Ted and Faye Burson. Ted, a former teacher recognized something was wrong with this handsome swan. The Bursons have watched this swan family for years. He is unable to stand due to muscle weakness and has heart failure/fluid around his heart, both symptoms of lead poisoning. We sure hope we can turn him around and are trying our best. Our thanks to Dr Jean Wilcox at Gwinn Animal Hospital for diagnosing this swans urgent need. 
Common Loon #720-16 Our thanks to Steve and Lynn Scala for helping recover this loon from Big Barber Lake, MI and Kevin and Linda Grenzer for transporting on a late night run to REGI. This loon did not leave the lake before it froze over. During x-ray we found he had been shot in the right chest. He had a lead pellet lodged in his chest. The lead in the soft tissue may encapsulate and not cause any leeching of lead into the loons body, however his lung on the affected side is filled with fluid. He is not eating on his own at this time. We are cautiously optimistic for his recovery.