Management of trauma-induced chronic torticollis in raptors has historically been challenging. Euthanasia is common in affected birds because of their inability to maintain normal cervical position, although they may be able to function normally. To assess effectiveness of physical therapy of the neck and head as an adjunct treatment for this condition, a case-control study was done in raptors admitted to the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program from 2003 to 2010. Eleven cases were identified with a diagnosis of chronic torticollis resulting from traumatic brain injury. Five cases were treated with physical therapy of the head and neck, and 6 control cases did not receive any physical therapy for the torticollis. Of the control cases, 0 of 6 had resolution of the torticollis, 0 of 6 were released, and 5 of 6 were euthanatized. Of the treated cases, 4 of 5 had complete resolution of the torticollis and 5 of 5 were released. Resolution of torticollis differed significantly between cases receiving physical therapy and controls. These results indicate that physical therapy should be used as an adjunctive therapy in cases of chronic torticollis induced by trauma in raptors because it results in better resolution of the torticollis and increased likelihood of release.
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