Three bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) found along highways and unable to fly were presented for evaluation. All eagles exhibited sternal recumbency, as well as flaccid hind limb and tail paralysis. Vertebral column and spinal cord trauma were suspected as the cause. One bird died, whereas the remaining 2 birds were stabilized for diagnostic imaging studies. All 3 birds were evaluated by radiography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for diagnosis and for prognosis in the live birds. Radiographic findings in all 3 birds were inconclusive, whereas MRI results showed extensive damage of the spinal cord and vertebral column, precluding functional recovery. The 2 surviving birds were euthanatized. In all birds, MRI assessments correlated well with necropsy and histopathologic findings.
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Vol. 21 • No. 3