One of the treasured Wildlife ARC carers recently presented an adult cockatoo unable to fly as found on the ground. It had some swelling around its right shoulder joint but no fractures were palpated, and there were no obvious wounds or skin punctures.

Radiographs were obtained after cocky was quickly put under a gaseous anaesthetic. To our surprise a slug gun pellet was found embedded deeply near the joint. It was elected to let the swelling subside and consider surgery a few days later to remove the slug. Lead poisoning was deemed a low risk as it occurs more with ingested lead subject to acid digestion.

A week later Cocky was still not using the wing well enough, and repeat anaesthesia and exploratory surgery was performed with help from repeat radiographs. Surgery was not able to remove the pellet as it was thought more open surgery in this location may result in permanent damage for the parrot. We will monitor its progress in coming weeks.