Seabirds and fishing lines, a lethal combination

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Posted: Friday, December 27, 2013 5:34 pm | Updated: 5:48 pm, Fri Dec 27, 2013.

What do you do if you find a seabird and you see a fish-line hanging out of his beak?

Do not cut the line, is you do, said Don Swerida, DVM, OF Doctor Don’s Mobile Vet.

He explained, “Cutting the line allows the hook to travel deeper into the stomach of the bird and it is really hard to get out. Also many birds die and its not an easy way to go.”

This is a common problem he explained, as the seabirds congregate at Suncoast fish camps like the one in Venice where his patients, a Cormorant and young Pelican were rescued from. Unfortunately, many don’t know that cutting the line is the worst thing to do and he urges both fishermen and those who witness a bird in distress to try to contain the bird and call Venice Wild life or another rescue and rehabilitation group that can help.

The surgery was quick, Dr. Don administered anesthesia and moments later started to feel for the hook. Luckily it hadn’t gone into the stomach which is the concern when the line is cut. One he located it in the neck, he made a small incision and maneuvered it out.

He said, “If you're the fisherman reeling in a bird like this please just don't cut the line and let it go, you're going doom it to a slow and miserable death."

The surgery performed at Ashton Animal Clinic was successful, the bird was given antibiotics and is expected to make a full recovery.

If you do come across an injured bird, try to catch and contain it, and call Venice Wildlife or another local rehab or rescue group, and remember, DO NOT cut the line.

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