Straddle leg or splay leg in juvenile duck
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Thank you. I've been looking for info on juvenile ducks with splay leg, but yours is the only post I've found. At Easter, a neighbor bought 4 Pekins from Tractor Supply and dumped them on the lake once they were no longer fun to care for. They knew that one had a bad limp, but did nothing to help her. Now she is completely lame.
She was approx 5-6 weeks old when I saw her hobbling around the lake. Now, at approx 8 weeks, she is completely unable to walk. Her legs were horribly swollen...nearly 3X their normal size. I don't know if there was an infection that developed in her legs, or if the constant stress on her joints caused a severe inflammatory reaction. Her legs were very hot to the touch. After a week, I took her to the vet and they gave her two shots...one was an antibiotic and I'm guessing one was an anti-inflammatory.
I decided to wrangle her into a caged area that I have for my own ducks, and began to provide electrolytes, vitamins, higher protein foods, dried mealworms, etc... I also wanted to keep her in a small, safe area so she wouldn't keep trying to use her legs, due to the swelling...and so that she would not become prey for our local fox.
I then began physical therapy for her in the baby pool. I put her in the pool at least twice a day for 30-45 minutes, and found that using a sprayer hose (aimed at the wall of the pool) created a whirlpool effect that caused her to try to swim. If she stopped swimming, I would gently reach in and touch her legs and get her to push off against my hands with her feet. I would then take her out of the pool and set her on a towel to try to get her underbelly dried off. She is unable to stand up and preen herself, so her belly stays wet. The vet advised to help her get her belly dry, since she is unable to do it herself. I sit her on one side of a towel to get the worst of the water off of her...and then an hour later, I move her to the other side of the towel. It's not a perfect system, but it helps.
The swelling in her legs has decreased significantly, but her upper leg joint is very stiff and still fairly swollen. The joints have limited mobility. Once I get the swelling under control, I am going to attempt to tether her legs and hope that it will allow her to stand. She has become very weak on her right side, and even sits (and swims) a little lopsided. Her right foot seemed to be almost dead...it was not opening up. After a week of therapy, I have seen improvement in that foot. I am going to focus, in the pool, on that side of her body to try to get her evened out before I tether her legs. I'll update if I have success.
I hope that with more therapy and better quality food and vitamins, she can get her legs back...will have to wait and see. I feel like this has turned into a full time job, but I just can't stand to see an animal suffer.
Just thought I'd add my story in case anybody else has encountered a juvenile duck with this problem. I've seen this in ducklings, but never in a juvenile duck. I'm hoping she can have a full recovery.