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Presumptive electric cataracts in a Great Horned owl (Bubo virginianus)


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N. E. MacLaren
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This case report describes suspected electrocution in a juvenile female Great Horned owl (Bubo virginianus) with subsequent bilateral cataract formation. The bird flew into a high-voltage power line and was immediately rescued. Burn wounds of the head and ataxia with apparent blindness were noted. Initial ophthalmic examination 5 days after the incident revealed bilaterally symmetrical anterior subcapsular vacuolar cataracts with absence of intraocular inflammation and a predominantly clear view to the normal appearing fundus. The bird appeared to be nonvisual. No ophthalmic medications were prescribed at initial examination. Subsequent recheck examination at 8 weeks revealed moderate resolution of the cataracts and improved vision. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first published report of suspected electric cataracts in an avian species.