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Raptor Health

Caring for Raptors During the Summer Months



(Also See the section on WNV later on this page)

See April Hawk Chalk (pp.76-77) for recommendations on use of Merial Recombitek Vaccine. Protection also requires protective screening - you cannot rely entirely on the vaccine to provide complete protection even under the best of circumstances. Merial vaccine for WNV is available from large animal practitioners and also from farm supply stores (e.g. Fleet Farm) in many areas


GYRS and GYR Hybrids


Aspergillus prophylaxis beginning at around 40 days of age:

  • Sporonox: 8 mg for jerkins, 10 mg for falcons, once a day from mid-July through end of September OR
  • V-fend (voriconazole): 1/4 of a 50 mg tablet (12.5mg) once a day on same schedule
  • Sporonox and Vfend available at most pharmacies with prescription.

Avoid heat stress - keep them fat and happy



Lariam (mefloquine) - 1/8 of a 250 mg tablet once a week for duration of insect season, especially in regions with a lot of waterfowl, either residential or seasonally.



Influenza is not of any concern at this time nor is it expected to be,will notify immediately if that changes - I doubt that it will.



Duck hawkers need to be aware of the possibility of their falcons contracting cholera (Pasteurella) from wild ducks - more so in the spring than in the fall, but certain regions, especially California have an endemic problem with this.

Thank you Dr. Redig!

Thank you NAFA members for your continuing support of NAFA!

Good Hawking,

Dan Cecchini, Jr., PresidentM
North American Falconers' Association

West Nile Virus (WNV)

Here are some links that may help you to better understand and track WNV in Idaho:

Where do I get this vaccination in SW Idaho? 

Where do I get this vaccination in SE Idaho? 



WNV Hot Spot Map

Conversations with Dr. Patrick Redig D.V.M.


Jesse Woody:


I need your advice. I read the article in the last Hawk Chalk by Dr. Ross Dirks, In your qualified opinion, is the Recombitek West Nile Vaccine safe to use. With the exception of a Finnish tiercel that was produced last spring, I have vaccinated all of my goshawks with the Fort Dodge Innovator. Before I start the vaccination of the tiercel and the booster shots of my other birds, I would like to know what you think. Any help, will be shared with other falconers in Idaho. The Recombitek is about ten dollars cheaper than the Innovator vaccine. The only reason that I haven't used the Recombitek was the use of canary pox as a vector. I do know of at least a couple of falconers in this area that used this vaccine on Harris' and peregrine hybrids, without any trouble. Please advise!

Jesse Woody
Boise, Idaho

Dr. Patrick Redig D.V.M.:

Hi, Jesse - yes, in my opinion, the Recombitek vaccine is safe and possibly more efficacious, in that there is evidence of achieving seroconversion - i.e. antibodies in the blood following vaccination. This was never demonstrable with the Innovator vaccine. We are using the Recombitek vaccine in all of our education birds this year - some 30 birds including bald eagles, merlins, kestrels, red-tails, horned owls, barred owls, golden eagle and peregrine (although peregrines seem to be largely resistant to WNV anyway). We started vaccinating over a month ago and have seen no indication of a pox problem. 

Dr. Patrick Redig D.V.M.
Raptor Center, Univ. of MN
St. Paul, MN.


Jesse Woody:


I am keeping two female Finnish goshawks this year. How old do they need to be before it is safe to vaccinate them? Has there been any indication that vaccinated birds pass on immunity to their offspring?

Dr. Patrick Redig D.V.M.:

Hi, Jesse - they can be vaccinated any time after about 3 weeks - just make sure they get a second shot about 3 weeks later. Any immunity passed from adult to youngsters, whether arising from vaccination or actual infection, is part of the maternal antibody that is incorporated into the egg and is short lived - i.e. gone by the time the chick is 3 - 4 weeks old. 

Dr. Patrick Redig D.V.M.
Raptor Center, Univ. of MN
St. Paul, MN.