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Duck with broken leg

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

I have 4 male Welsh Harlequins, all about 4 months old.  I have one of those large 6'X2' round tanks you get at Tractor Supply for their "pond" and a ramp for them to get in and out.  Last Saturday (Halloween) I accidentally startled them while they were swimming and they all flew out.  One of them hit the ground wrong and broke his leg.  I called the vet who met me at his clinic.  He put Pudge under anesthesia so we could examine him and confirmed (by feel) that he had broken his femur, way up on his leg.  Since there is no way to really splint since it's not the lower leg, he suggested euthanizing him (actually he said "let's put him in the pot and cook him" and also "now you know where the expression "dead duck" comes from"), so I told him to screw himself and took my duck to the car (the wife paid this jerk).  Anyway, I separated him from the flock and got him his own pool (little 40gal) and I keep him in it as much as possible, hoping to keep pressure off the leg.  He still gets out of his little pool occasionally though, and when he does I pick him up and put him back in the water.

I called every vet in town and the only one that was any help at all told me it might be possible to surgically put a pin in his leg.  It is really breaking my heart to see him like this, but I don't know what to do.  Should I make some sort of sling and keep him suspended, has anyone ever heard of putting a pin in, do I keep doing what I'm doing?  I go out there right after I get home from work and hand-feed him worms.....nothing wrong with his appetite!  Should I make sure he can't get out of his water?

Anybody?


Edited by OwnedByHarlequins - 11/7/10 at 1:23am
post #2 of 45

He does need to be able to get out of the water even though being in there is one of the best ways you can treat him for his broken bone at home.  He needs to be able to get out when he is tired or he could actually drown.

I must say- I am not impressed with the comments made by the vet- its most likely because he had no idea how to treat a duck in the first place.  Many vets rarely see poultry as so few people are able to justify or pay the huge bills for a bird.   

The fact that it now happened a week ago- means that the bone may now have started to knit- and maybe out of alignment.  The best case scenario- is that once healed the drake will just have a limp.

Pinning the leg would be his best option- suspending him is risky as if he gets out of the sling while you are at work- he could get tangled and strangle himself.  If you cant get him to the vet or pinning the leg is no longer possible-  a combination of suspension and swimming would be the best way to keep the weight of the leg in the hope that it will heal well.  Keeping him in a small confined area so he cant get around will also help.

<(" ) TAYLORDUCKS  ( ")>       
<(" )  Breeder of Harlequin and Crested Indian Runners.  ( ")>

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<(" ) TAYLORDUCKS  ( ")>       
<(" )  Breeder of Harlequin and Crested Indian Runners.  ( ")>

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post #3 of 45
Thread Starter 

I just checked on him and he was out of the pool, so I put him back in again. 

The vet is the only one in town who supposedly treats for this.....and yeah, he is a total jerk.  He was not kidding when he made those remarks either.  We have a zoo here, I may call them to see if they can do something.

Have you ever heard of anyone putting a pinning a ducks leg?  I don't care what it costs, this is just ripping my heart out.  I don't want to take him to the jerk vet though

When you say "suspension", could you elaborate as to exactly how to do this?

His "area" right now is about 7' X 4' with the little pond taking up about 3' at the long end of the oval.



Thank you alot for your response.


Edited by OwnedByHarlequins - 11/7/10 at 1:43am
post #4 of 45

I have heard of birds having their legs pinned.  It would be expensive- but if you are willing to do that for your drake you are truely a wonderful person.   Calling the zoo may help you find a different vet willing to do the surgery without the comments.

I goggled to try and find some photos or pictures to show how you can suspend a duck-  Here is a few things I found that may help you.  I have a disabled duck- at home who I have tried to make a frame for myself- but she WOULD NOT sit like she was supposed to and I had to give up and just let her be in her babies portacot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVtyzb22Eyc&feature=related

The tapping noise must be the ducks legs on the bottom of the plastic container.

http://www.lemontheduck.com/id9.html

This is Lemon a duck hatched at a school who has neurological problems- the frame is made from PVC pipe and connectors.

http://www.wildlifewarriors.org.au/wildlife_hospital/recent_patients.html
This is Ellie the wood duck who had her leg broken - repositioned and pinned here in Australia.  ( I was a bit disturbed by the piece of wood propping her up for the photo )

Hope this helps some.

<(" ) TAYLORDUCKS  ( ")>       
<(" )  Breeder of Harlequin and Crested Indian Runners.  ( ")>

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<(" ) TAYLORDUCKS  ( ")>       
<(" )  Breeder of Harlequin and Crested Indian Runners.  ( ")>

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post #5 of 45
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for that info!!!

I have about $600 that I could spend to pin his leg.....if it was any more than that, other financial methods would need to be found.

The story about Ellie the wood duck was especially encouraging.



Thanks again, and I will call our zoo on Monday.

post #6 of 45

Best of luck with your duck...  I really hope everything turns out ok with him.

<(" ) TAYLORDUCKS  ( ")>       
<(" )  Breeder of Harlequin and Crested Indian Runners.  ( ")>

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<(" ) TAYLORDUCKS  ( ")>       
<(" )  Breeder of Harlequin and Crested Indian Runners.  ( ")>

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post #7 of 45

Maybe the zoo can find you someone who would do it for less too. There *has* to be a vet student out there somewhere who could do it for less...don't you just HATE this kind of treatment? You know darn good and well that they have to treat some animals in order to get skilled as vets, people donate them for the purpose and then the schools euthanize them when they are done oftentimes. I've had to take a few of our crew here over the years in to this or that university clinic and really, I don't see where the savings supposedly comes in, except it's OUR tax dollars supporting the whole darned show and then you have to get raked over the coals too for even more money. I know someone who recently went through vet school and it's really beginning to sound like some sort of pyramid scheme. Once upon a time I really wanted to go and I even have the university credit hours to change majors, but now I don't think I would even if the money dropped out of the sky for it.

Fine Welsh Cob sporthorses since 1992 with multiple championships; provisional judge for Welsh, member Arabian Horse Assn. Breeding and showing Call ducks. NPIP #1197, ABA Life Member #613, IWBA; National Call Breeders of America Life Member and Master Exhibitor. Illinois Pullorum tester. My Self-Black Call duck flock is available. PM for details!
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Fine Welsh Cob sporthorses since 1992 with multiple championships; provisional judge for Welsh, member Arabian Horse Assn. Breeding and showing Call ducks. NPIP #1197, ABA Life Member #613, IWBA; National Call Breeders of America Life Member and Master Exhibitor. Illinois Pullorum tester. My Self-Black Call duck flock is available. PM for details!
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post #8 of 45

Is there any possibility that his leg could be amputated?  It would probably be less expensive than pinning and he may do just fine without the leg or just a stump of a leg.

Killdeers, phoebes and finches (My bird blog)

God bless baby killdeers and ducklings   

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Killdeers, phoebes and finches (My bird blog)

God bless baby killdeers and ducklings   

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post #9 of 45
Thread Starter 

duckluck-
I called the zoo today and talked to the curator.....she suggested a vet that they sometimes use, so I called his office but he wasn't in.   I will call again tomorrow.  He looks promising though, it lists orthopedic surgery and livestock as things he is involved with.

desertdarlene-
Appreciate the advice, but I think amputation would be a very last resort as I don't know how that would be very helpful to the duck.

post #10 of 45
Thread Starter 

I drained, cleaned, and refilled the main tank today (425 gallons of poop water, whew!!!), refilled it, then put Pudge in it by himself.....he had the best time, he dove and splashed for 10 minutes.....he also got out by himself, preened, then limped down the ramp by himself and walked around a bit.  I put him back in the tank and then let his 3 brothers join him, he hadn't been with them since the accident.  Cecil who is the one that always gets picked on, decided it was payback time and started jumping on Pudge (broken leg duck), who proceeded to thrash Cecil, bad leg and all.......thus the pecking order was re-established.  The other 2 brothers (Spanky and Rufus) never bothered Pudge and seemed glad to have him back.  They played for about 45 minutes, then all of them got out together and walked to their night enclosure.  I picked Pudge up and put him in his side of the enclosure.  He got back out of his small tub, balanced himself on the 2" side, then jumped down and ate his food.....

Amazing.

Maybe he really WILL be OK.


I have the ducks (and all my pets) on live webcams....if you want to check out the ducks, click here http://www.robntoni.com/duckcam.php .  You must use Internet Explorer and it will load an ActiveX plugin the first time you check it out.  If you want to check out all of them on a 10 second refresh with Mozilla or IE, click here  http://www.robntoni.com


P.S.  I built a fully enclosed spot to put them in every night....it is bordered by the side of the house, 2 sides of the fence, and a screened wall with a door.  It is screened in at the top also and covered so they will always have shelter.  They go in after dark and stay there until I let them out every morning.  Right now Pudge stays in it all day.  That way it reduces any predators getting at them.

Took a few pics of them tonight:

Spanky (in back), Rufus (middle), Cecil (in front)
http://www.robntoni.com/graphics/websites/3boys.jpg

Closeup of Cecil
http://www.robntoni.com/graphics/websites/cecil.jpg

Night enclosure (with broken-leg Pudge)
http://www.robntoni.com/graphics/websites/duckpen.jpg


Edited by OwnedByHarlequins - 11/7/10 at 4:35pm
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