We've lived in our house for 13 years and have formed a close relationship with a drake Muscovy who has lived in the lake behind our house since day 1. He has always been "top dog" in the duck community back there. :) About a week ago I watched him suddenly fall sideways and flop a little, navigating with his wings on the ground. He seemed very disoriented and was holding his head sideways. This behavior has persisted. When he walks now it's like he has vertigo and is falling forward and I can tell his toes are gripping into the ground as if to halt himself from falling on his face. He almost breaks into a run because it's like he's trying to keep himself from falling forward. That being said he seems to only walk now if he has to. He swims pretty well but his overall demeanor is fearful and sick. He's still eating but when he does, he does this gulping thing which is not normal. He's hanging in there but I really want to know what's wrong and if there's anything I can do to help him. He seeks out our house and family and lets us get right next to him, but has never been comfortable with us touching him. Could this be a stroke? I'm pretty sure it's not Avian Botulism as we have helped (and buried ;( ) many of the ducks in the back due to that bacteria and I have never seen symptoms like this.
Also, calling the Wildlife care Center near me is my LAST resort as it seems they are very hasty to put down the animals that are brought to them.
Please help with any advice! We love our Daddy Duckie.