Vick’s, father, Dr. James Vick, is also a falconer and asked orthopedic specialist Dr. Michael Paxten if he would be interested in taking a look at the hawk. Paxten, who practices through the Rome Orthopaedic Center and specializes in hand procedures, said it wasn't his everyday case and asked Vick to send him pictures of the raptor.
“He explained to me initially that it was a lacerated tendon. I looked at it and it looked a little bit different,” Paxten said. “The tendon actually pulled off the bone where it attached. In humans we can get something like that, called a Jersey finger.”
Dr. Paxten said there are different ways to repair it in humans and said, "I was trying to figure out the best way to repair it, if it was the case for this”
West Rome Animal Clinic owner Dr. Dan Pate had worked on hawks with Dr. Vick and his son a number of times over the years, and offered his surgical theater and anesthesia for the operation. At some point during various discussions of how to best treat the serious wound, Dr. Pate said David Hoyt, a local orthopedic drug representative, offered up a prosthetic bone anchor for the surgery.
“We were able to drill into the bone, put the anchor in and then tie the stitches down with the tendon in place,” Dr. Paxten said. ”(It was) definitely the most unique procedure and it was pretty awesome, pretty fun to be involved in something like this," Paxten said. "It was cool how everyone came together and we were able to all work together.”
The hawk is making a nice recovery but is not going to be able to hunt for a while yet. This past Thursday, Paxten put his finger to the sharp claw at the end of the talon and was amazed at the tension Koda was able to put on his finger. He said that without the prosthetic bone anchor, the hawk might never have been able to fully grip and lift anything in that talon again.
Dr. Pate said Dr. Paxten was so meticulous in preparing for the surgery.
"Right now it's looking pretty good," Paxten said. "In humans we would splint them (during recovery) but that was not possible with the hawk."
Vick the younger, a veterinary assistant with Dr. Pate who said he is definitely interested in going on to vet school, is feeding antibiotics to Koda in squirrels and other meat the hawk isn't having to work for during her recovery.
Vick is very confident that his almost five-year old hawk will be able to hunt again soon and invited Dr. Paxten out to watch his patient do her thing.