Oral Health Care…It’s in Our Nature

With our range of dental experience on patients from all walks of life, the last thing we expected to be doing on a typical Tuesday afternoon was to be performing an oral procedure on a wild winged creature. Yet that’s exactly what happened when Rebeca, Kim, Patrice and I found ourselves in a unique situation right outside our office. Just before closing time, we spotted an anhinga through the window, struggling with its beak entirely wound with taut fishing line and an attached lure. The bird was clearly in distress, and most likely starving from not being able to open its mouth.


Our “M” team came to the rescue, armed with a surgical knife, scissors, and a blanket. We got to work and within a few minutes, successfully freed our new friend.


Still, he seemed to be in a weakened condition so we consulted CROW (crowclinic.org), described on its website as follows:  “The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife is a teaching hospital and visitor education center dedicated to saving wildlife through state-of-the-art veterinary care, research, education and conservation medicine.”

Each year, CROW cares for approximately 3,500 wildlife patients including more than 200 species of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife in its veterinary hospital, which is one of the nation’s leading rehabilitation facilities for native and migratory wildlife.


The site provided us with the location of an after-hours emergency vet for drop offs, so we placed the blanketed bird in a box, and I dropped him off there for CROW pick up the next morning.

As of today, we are still trying to find out the bird’s condition – we wish him well and know that he is getting great care from the crew at CROW.

This experience serves as a great reminder to all of us to make sure we properly dispose of unwanted fishing line, fishing lures, or other trash – we have to protect our wildlife! As our patients know from our office artwork, photos, and even our logo, all of us at Mitchell Dentistry share a love of nature, wildlife, and our local waters. It was very rewarding to do our little part and help a bird in need.

For the most part, however, we prefer to practice dentistry on our human patients – so bring your “beaks” to us!

In the meantime, if you need a local resource to help a lost or injured animal, visit CROW’s site at:


All the best,

Dr. Jim

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