Call Duck Illness - Lack of Coordination - Botulism?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Scott, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. Scott

    Scott Ozark Bantams

    Apr 11, 2007
    Southeast Missouri
    Any call duck gurus have any idea what this may be....

    I've got a call duck that is about 6 months old. A few weeks ago, I noticed that she was havng difficulty walking. Then, within a few days, she was constantly on her back trying upright herself. At first I though she had injured her leg, but I looked her over real well and could not find anythign swelling or broken bones. As the days went by she got lethargic.... if I upright her she can usually walk a few steps, but lacks the coordination to stay upright. I left for a couple of days and when I returned she seemed worse. I help her to the feed bowl and she ate quite a bit. I am going to start helping her feed because I think she is not able to get to the food, which makes her weak and worsens her condition. After eating she seems to have more energy. I got to look online... and I suspect it is botulism, but Im not 100% sure. The sypmtoms seem correct, semi-paralysis in the legs in neck, difficulty turning upright. Apparently ducks are prone to this in the very hot weather and its been in the mid to upper 90s here for several weeks. Has anyone else with ducks experienced this? Do you think it is botulism?

    Thanks,
    Scott
     
  2. easttxchick

    easttxchick Lone Star Call Ducks

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    Hey Scott-I'm really sorry you are dealing with this.
    According to what I read, botulism usually causes coma and death in 24-48 hours.
    Could this be what your seeing with your duck? What caught my attention was the fact that you have found her on her back:

    Riemerella anatipestifer Infection
    This bacterial disease of ducks is also known as Pasteurella anatipestifer infection, infectious serositis and New Duck disease. Anatipestifer infection causes high mortality, weight loss and condemnation. In the acute form, listlessness, eye discharge and diarrhea are commonly seen. Ducks show incoordination, shaking of the head and twisted neck. Birds are commonly found on their backs, paddling their legs. Typical lesions found in dead birds are infected air sacs, membranes covering the heart and liver, and meningitis. Preventive management and vaccination are effective means of control. Penicillin, enrofloxacin and sulfadimethoxine-ormetoprim (0.04-0.08% in feed) are effective in reducing mortality.

    I sure hope you are able to treat her and get her better.

    Sheila
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010
  3. Scott

    Scott Ozark Bantams

    Apr 11, 2007
    Southeast Missouri
    Quote:Sheila,

    I don't think it is that infection which has symptoms including an inward turned neck and tremors. The duck in question does not exhibit those symptoms. I'm pretty certain it is botulism, which isn't an infection but actually a poisoning that attacks the nervous system. Hence, the lack of coordination. Mortality is high for lethal doses, but survival is likely in mild cases... This hen is entirely alert, enjoys swimming, and eats well with some assistance(i.e. setting her upright by the food and water). However, she lacks coordination in her legs, wings, and, to a lesser extent, her neck.... which is common with mild botulism. Botulism tends to occur during hot dry spells in late summer (as we've been experiencing here). In fact, it can infect entire wild populations in parks. I've currently got her here in the house so that I can make sure she is eating and drinking well. If it were a lethal case, she would have already been dead. I have a feeling this hen will recuperate... she just needs some TLC for a while.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Scott,

    Sorry about the duck's illness. It does sound like what I have read of botulism, and I think you are taking a good track. As much water as possible may help flush the toxins out.

    Pulling for you both.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Scott

    Scott Ozark Bantams

    Apr 11, 2007
    Southeast Missouri
    Quote:Thanks Amiga!
     
  6. swheat

    swheat The Bantam Barn

    Mar 18, 2008
    Alabama
    My Coop
    Scott,
    If it is Botulism, put about a tablespoon of Epsom Salts per gal to her drinking water. It will help neutralize toxins.
     
  7. easttxchick

    easttxchick Lone Star Call Ducks

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    That's really nice of you to bring her in the house. [​IMG]
    Here's hoping she only has MILD botulism and gets better for you.
    Take care!
     
  8. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Storey's Guide seems to confirm what swheat wrote about, as the book suggests a pint of molasses or a pound of Epsom salts in 5 gallons of water as a laxative to help purge the toxin.

    But this has been going on for weeks, yes? It could possibly be some other kind of poisoning. Any indication of what she may have gotten into? Bad feed? Plant toxin? Ingestion of a metal?

    I still think as much water as she is willing to drink will help.
     
  9. Scott

    Scott Ozark Bantams

    Apr 11, 2007
    Southeast Missouri
    Quote:Thanks for the advice about epsom salt. I had read that somewhere as well, but glad to get a second opinion. I think I first noticed this about 1.5 to 2 weeks ago, maybe not quite that long.
     
  10. Scott

    Scott Ozark Bantams

    Apr 11, 2007
    Southeast Missouri
    Just an a quick update: the hen has been improving quite a bit since I brought her inside. She is eating and drinking regularly, plus she enjoys swimming in the goldfish pond in the afternoons. I started her on epsom salt yesterday. Her coordination is much improved and she has much less difficulty walking on her own... and even flaps her wings after swimming. In other words, she seems to be returning to her old self.
     

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