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Ozzie’s fractured clavicle starts showing signs of mending

By Staff | Apr 14, 2015

PHOTOS BY BRIAN WIERIMA Vet tech Missy Fox holds Ozzie during his physical therapy session Tuesday at CROW on Sanibel, while vet intern Molly Lien takes the bald eagle's heart rate. Vet intern Brittany Stevens and CROW hospital director Dr. Heather Barron also helped out during the eagle's physical therapy session.

SANIBEL – A callus, or new bone development, was detected on Ozzie’s latest X-ray Tuesday, which is good news for the celebrity bald eagle cam star.

Ozzie, which is one half of the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam duo (along with the female Harriet), underwent his regularly scheduled physical therapy and X-ray session at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation for Wildlife (CROW) on Sanibel Tuesday, April 21, without his usual body wrap, which was removed a week ago.

During the session, an X-ray showed new bone growth on the ends of his left fractured clavicle, which is bridging the two fractured ends together.

“Ozzie has been mostly inside the last week because we took off the body wrap to help immobilize the wing,” said CROW veterinarian intern Molly Lien. “It’s been four weeks since his initial injury. But we do feel a callus and once that starts, he is about a good 50-percent healed.

“The real test is if that callus and the fracture site is going to be healthy enough for good flight.”

During Tuesday's therapy session at CROW, the hooded Ozzie underwent another X-ray and his regularly scheduled physical therapy. The CROW staff started to see a callus, or new bone development, forming on the two fracture ends, which is good news for the Southwest Eagle Cam star.

Ozzie’s biggest obstacle during the healing process, was the two fractured ends of the clavicle were very displaced and even if the callus is forming, the CROW staff needs to make sure he can fully extend and use his wing effectively.

“But the fact the callus has started, is a good sign,” Lien said.

After the physical therapy session, in which Ozzie was just slightly sedated and hooded, he was brought to a small outside enclosure, where he will stay for approximately one more week without his body wrap.

If all steps go well, he will be transferred to a larger enclosure where he can start strengthening his flight muscles.

Ozzie’s physical therapy plan the CROW staff have followed, has focused on his range of motion (ROM), which is the total amount of freedom of movement of a joint – in this case, his left wing.

CROW vet intern Molly Lien takes the range of motion measurements Tuesday on Ozzie's injured left wing, during the bald eagle's physical therapy session.

ROM exercises increases blood flow, improve synovial fluid production, decrease pain and reduce potential for adhesions and boy entrapment of tendons at fracture sites.

During Ozzie’s therapy, massage and a rice sock heat application have been used to help loosen tight muscles and increase circulation.

ROM measurements have been taken before and after each session to track Ozzie’s progress, in which Lien performed Tuesday during the therapy session.

Bald eagles with similar injuries have had a good rate of being returned to the wild with fully functional flight, Lien said.

“It’s a common injury, but because of the displacement of his fracture, that was the biggest thing for him,” Lien said.

Ozzie gets a squirt of water during his physical therapy session Tuesday, April 21.

During his time at CROW, Ozzie has feasted quite well, thanks to all of his fans across the U.S.

After becoming “finicky” of the food in which his medication was stashed in, a call was sent out to media outlets late last week asking for donations of fish heads, particularly salmon fish heads, which is Ozzie’s favorite.

“The response was unbelievable and crazy,” said CROW marketing and public relations manager Kenny Howell. “The next day, people in different time zones had seen the stories, and they actually looked up different fish joints on the island and were calling up places like Baileys to help donate fish heads. We had to go there a few times to pick up fish heads.

“It was quite overwhelming and we definitely are set for awhile and have frozen them for later use.”

Now the main question from observers is if there is a date for the release of Ozzie?

Veterinarian intern Molly Lien, measures for range of motion on Ozzie's right uninjured wing to compare it to his range of motion on his injured left wing, Tuesday at the CROW hospital on Sanibel.

That answer will have to wait, since it will take some more time to see if the displaced fracture ends will heal together correctly and if Ozzie can start effectively strengthening his flight muscles back to normal.

Until then, Harriet and the duo’s offspring – named E6 – will have to keep the nest warm for Ozzie until he can heal up and leave his safe confides at CROW.