A buzzard is back in the air after having its broken wing repaired by the veterinary team at Willows Veterinary Hospital in Hartford.

The dedicated team who have helped the buzzard to fly again. From left: Lower Moss Wood Wildlife Hospital volunteer Ian Daniels, Bruce Waddell and Philippa Richmond of Willows Veterinary Hospital, and Ray Jackson MBE of Lower Moss Wood.

Head vet Bruce Waddell performed the intricate operation to place an external fixator on the outside of the affected limb using pins the width of sewing needles.

While Dr Waddell has carried out similar operations on dogs and cats in the past, the operation marked the first time he had used the structure on a bird.

Long-standing links

A member of the public found the patient on a bridleway on the Wirral and took him to Lower Moss Wood Wildlife Hospital near Knutsford, which has a close relationship with Willows Veterinary Group.

Dr Waddell said: “We knew that if we didn’t do anything, then the bird would have to be put to sleep. So we took some x-rays and discovered the left humerus that was broken.

Complete fracture

“It was a complete fracture with two fragments that had moved out of position. So we cleaned the area, prepared the bird for surgery and put two pins into each side of the fracture. We then carefully realigned the two fragments before applying the external clamps and framework to hold it in place.

“Keeping birds asleep and alive when you are operating on them is one of the hardest things and [deputy nurse manager] Philippa did a terrific job of doing this while I carried out the surgery.”

The buzzard was returned to the wildlife hospital to recuperate and an x-ray taken a month later showed the wing had healed well. Test flights have, so far, been successful.

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