Lead Poisoning in Bald Eagles Admitted to Wildlife Rehabilitation Facilities in Iowa, 2004–2014

Date
2017-12-01
Authors
Yaw, Taylor
Neumann, Kay
Bernard, Linette
Zaffarano, Bianca
Cancilla, Jodeane
Evans, Terese
Martin-Schwarze, Adam
Zaffarano, Bianca
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Veterinary Clinical Sciences
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Veterinary Clinical SciencesStatistics
Abstract

Eleven years (2004–2014) of bald eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus data from four independent, state and federally permitted wildlife rehabilitators in Iowa were assessed for the prevalence of elevated lead levels in blood or tissue samples. The relationship between blood lead concentrations and recorded information (age, season, radiographs, and clinical outcome) was investigated. Adult birds had higher blood lead concentrations than immature and juvenile birds. Highest blood lead levels were found during October–January. Bald eagles with positive radiographs for metallic opacities in the digestive tract had higher blood and tissue lead concentrations than those with negative results or those on which no radiograph was performed. Metallic opacities were identified through necropsy. Bald eagles with elevated levels of lead were associated with poor clinical outcomes, indicating that blood lead concentrations could be used as a predictor of clinical outcome.

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This article is published as Yaw T, Neumann K, Bernard L, Cancilla J, Evans T, Martin-Schwarze A, Zaffarano B. 2017. Lead poisoning in bald eagles admitted to wildlife rehabilitation facilities in Iowa, 2004–2014. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 8(2):465-473; e1944-687X. doi:10.3996/122015-JFWM-124.

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