Nova ‘War Eagle VII’ won’t fly before Auburn football games

Published 5:04 pm Saturday, July 1, 2017

AUBURN (AP) — Auburn’s well-known “War Eagle VII” will not fly during pregame events during the school’s football season.

Nova will not fly after Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine faculty diagnosed the 18-year-old golden eagle with cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart, The Opelika-Auburn News reported.

Southeastern Raptor Center Director Dr. Jamie Bellah said a bald eagle named Spirit will assume pregame flight duties.

Email newsletter signup

A following routine checkup found that Nova had an abnormal heart rhythm.

“Nova has been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, indicated by an enlarged left ventricle, decreased systolic function and supraventricular premature complexes (arrhythmia),” said Dr. Seth Oster, an avian veterinarian at the raptor center and the college’s Wilford and Kate Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital.

A CT angiogram showed areas of significant constriction of his right brachiocephalic trunk, one of the large blood vessels near Nova’s heart, as the cause of cardiomyopathy and arrhythmia, an irregular or abnormal heartbeat.

Nova was on several medications to prevent his condition from worsening.

He is being monitored by raptor center staff and will receive examinations by Cardiology Service veterinarians.

Veterinary medical staff decided that Nova should not be placed in situations that cause his heart to work harder than usual.

The eagle will rest in his enclosure at the raptor center and attend educational functions.

“These areas of constriction can increase the systolic pressure of the heart so that Nova’s heart has to pump harder to move blood around his body,” said Oster. “This type of problem could have multiple causes, the most common of which in birds is atherosclerosis.”

Atherosclerosis is the hardening and narrowing of the arteries.

Nova was hatched in 1999 at the Montgomery Zoo and went to Auburn the following year.

Nova’s first pregame flight was at an Auburn game against Kentucky.

The eagle was titled War Eagle VII in 2006.