In June 2016, staff with the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) responded to a call in Lincoln, RI about a Canada goose that was found with fishing line tightly wrapped around both legs. The bird was tangled in pond weeds and must have been there for some time. It was freed from the weeds but the line remained wound around the feet and the joint above (hock.) It was brought to the Wildlife Clinic of RI for evaluation and treatment
On initial exam the goose had very swollen feet that were cool to the touch, suggesting decreased circulation. This condition can lead rapidly to cellulitis, or infection of the skin and underling tissue.
Though the damage was severe, the goose was bright and alert and still eating, so we made the decision to try to treat him. We removed the fishing line by cutting it in pieces, and then started the goose on antibiotics, anti inflammatory medication, and regular foot baths treated with a light disinfectant (chlorhexidine.)
We continued these baths once a day for 8 weeks.
This photo shows the goose taking one of his foot baths at the Wildlife Clinic
One of the goose’s feet was so badly damaged that, after the foot bath, it had to be bandaged daily with gauze and then wrapped in a plastic sandwich bag to keep the bandage dry.
With daily care, the goose gradually improved. By the end of the summer, the goose was able to walk with a barely perceptible limp.
This photo shows the goose recovering in his outdoor enclosure at the Wildlife Clinic prior to his release.
To our great satisfaction, the goose was released at the beginning of September.