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The Wild Animal Health Fund is necessary for wildlife medicine, wildlife problems, zoo animal health, zoo animal welfare, and wildlife advocacy. 


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Take the time to support wildlife research grants so that zoo and wildlife veterinarians can discover solutions to help take better care of zoo animals and wildlife around the world. 


Did you know peafowl metabolize pain medicine fast which reduces the benefits of rapidly healing? 

Managing pain in exotic species presents unique challenges for zoo veterinarians. Studies show that animals heal more quickly when pain is properly controlled, but each species processes pain medication a bit differently, with a change to the dosage or the frequency of administration required or use of completely different medications for different species. Zoo species also may not readily take oral medications, especially if they are painful, so devising a way to effectively deliver adequate pain medication is essential.

Previous clinical research by veterinarians has established which medications appear to most effectively manage pain in birds, but with their rapid metabolism, birds need frequent dosing of oral or injectable pain medication. Scientists in the research field have used osmotic pumps to deliver a constant rate of medication to animals once they are implanted for a certain time period. These pumps can be used with a variety of medications and are easily and quickly placed and removed while the animal is under anesthesia. The medication is placed inside the pump’s salt sleeve, and the physiologic fluids under the skin of the animal allow a slow infusion of a constant amount of medication based on the specifications of the pump. One of the co-researchers for this study has used these pumps successfully in mammals and reptiles, and now we hope to expand their use in the zoo world to avian species.

In this study osmotic pumps are evaluated to reliably deliver an effective amount of pain medication to birds for a one-week period
. This time period is ideal for situations like surgical pain or pain associated with a traumatic wound or fracture where repeated handling of the bird for medication administration orally or injectably may stress the bird or slow down recuperation.

The full study is underway, using some of the more colorful members of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo collection of common peafowl. Pilot study data shows these pumps are functioning as expected, and it’s hoped the full results of the study will confirm the pumps can deliver the pain medication at an adequate dose for pain control for birds.


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The American Association of Zoo Veterinarians is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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