Owl receives eye surgery, released back into wild - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Owl receives eye surgery, released back into wild

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) - An owl that was rescued and underwent surgery has been released back into the wild.

The burrowing owl was brought to the South Florida Wildlife Center due to an eye injury. Staff at the rehabilitation were able to rehabilitate the owl and save its vision through laser surgery, which was performed by Dr. Robert Swinger, a veterinary ophthalmologist at the Hollywood Animal Hospital. "We based a lot of our exams on response to light, response visual stimuli," said Swinger. "It's more challenging. It's like working with a pediatric children, you know. They don't speak back very well."

Swinger performed the laser surgery on the owl, which has never been performed on a bird before ... and free of charge. "So we started treatment with medicines and he did great. He was visual. The medicines were working, but like a person he was on medicines, two medicines, two eye drops three times a day," said Dr. Swinger

Veterinarians first thought the injured owl, who was discovered three months ago, had a wing problem, but it was not his wing that was the problem. "Because of the shift, the food was building up and the pressure was building up, which is extremely painful for the bird, and also it prevents them from being able to see," said South Florida Wildlife Center's Dr. Renata Schneider.

After three months in rehab, veterinarians believe the owl was ready to fly. He was released on Friday at Owl Park, located at 1355 Nob Hill Road in Davie. "It's hard in wildlife, and it's a tough recovery, so to get to the point where we're standing here, where he's gonna be back into the wild is really exciting," said Dr. Swinger.

The South Florida Wildlife Center is affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States and is considered one of the nation's largest wildlife trauma centers.

The Town of Davie has set aside the park area for burrowing owls only. The owls are a species of special concern, according to the State of Florida.

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