A Missouri Department of Conservation agent brought the ailing bird from the Macon area to the veterinary hospital.
Einstein is a mature bald eagle who was admitted to the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital on April 20, 2011. Einstein was showing signs of a severe neurological problem. He appeared disoriented, depressed, was unable to stand, and had uncoordinated movements. He was also discharging a foul-smelling liquid from his mouth and nose that was consistent with a condition known as gastrointestinal stasis, which involves food rotting in the bird’s digestive tract rather than being digested completely.
Tests revealed that Einstein had toxic levels of lead in his body, which he most likely developed from eating fish that had consumed lead. Veterinarians at the teaching hospital treated him with EDTA, an agent that binds lead into a form that can be excreted from the body. After three rounds of the treatment, tests determined that the level of lead in Einstein’s blood had returned to normal.
He was discharged from the hospital on May 18, and has been recuperating and rebuilding his flight muscles in the Raptor Rehabilitation Project’s flight cage at the College of Veterinary Medicine. He is flying well and is ready to be returned to the wild.