Providing Veterinary Care for Wildlife
One of the most frequent questions we receive is where to take injured wild animals in Jacksonville. Here at Durbin Creek Animal Hospital we treat ALL species of animals, including our native Florida wildlife!
Over the years Dr. Hugh has cared for ataxic armadillos, dehydrated ducks, delirious deer, exhausted egrets, lethargic limpkins, obtunded opossums, painful pigeons, recumbent raccoons, stunned squirrels, traumatized turtles, and many other wild animal neighbors in need of assistance.
Following treatment, whenever possible we release wildlife in the same location where they were found. Yes, some animals that are brought to us are too severely injured to be released. In these cases they may be able to live out their lives in a sanctuary. We only perform euthanasia when it is absolutely necessary to prevent suffering. Fortunately the majority of wild animals we see do very well with basic treatment, supportive care and a safe place to rest and recuperate. The little barred owl in the picture at left collided with a vehicle and was found by the side of the road with head and eye trauma, but in time recovered from his injuries and now resides in a sanctuary.
When a sick, injured or orphaned wild animal is brought to us we will perform an initial triage to assess the patient's status. Our staff is trained in the safe handling of many different species in order to prevent injury to both the patient and the caregiver. In some cases, anesthesia may be required to allow thorough examination and treatment. It is important to use caution when handling any wild animal to prevent injury or spread of infectious disease.
Once the patient is safely sedated or restrained, we check for the presence of wounds, dehydration, hypothermia, infection, parasites, and other diseases. We will carefully address major problems in order of severity, and may provide warmth, fluids, pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and basic wound care. As we stabilize the patient, we may take x-rays to look for and assess fractures or internal injuries.
Once the patient is stable and initial treatment has been provided, we typically contact a local professional wildlife rehabilitator (see list below) to arrange continuing care until the animal is safe to be released. If the wildlife rehabs are not able to accept the animal, we will house and care for the patient here at Durbin Creek Animal Hospital until they are ready for release.
If you find a wild animal that may be in need of assistance, or if you have questions about the care of a specific wild animal, please contact us anytime by calling (904) 770-7615, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or messaging us on Facebook. We are here to help!
Other local wildlife rescue contacts:
B.E.A.K.S. -- Big Talbot Island, FL www.beaksbirdkare.org (904) 251-BIRD
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission -- www.myfwc.com (888)-404-3922 (24 hrs)
Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services -- (904) 630-2489
Jacksonville Zoo -- Jacksonville, FL www.jacksonvillezoo.org (904) 757-4463
H.A.W.K.E. -- Elkton, FL www.hawkewildlife.org (904) 692-1777
St. Johns County Animal Control -- (904) 209-0746
Wildlife Rescue Coalition of NE FL -- Jacksonville, FL www.wildlifecoalition.com (904) 779-5569