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Duck just stopped walking

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Journey, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. Journey

    Journey Hatching

    Dec 27, 2008
    I'm looking after a friend's ducks for awhile (they are really wild) and I checked on them throughout the day and saw they were fine. The last time they were checked on was 2pm. When I went to feed them at 4pm I noticed one of the girls showing unsteady limping, frantic drinking and uncomfortable movements with her month and then minutes later, she was down on the ground with her legs spread out behind her.

    Her eyes were quite sunken and almost closed and she looked in pain. She couldn't quack and acted like she was choking.

    Her bill was very hot and so was her head.

    I thought it might have been botulism but her legs weren't paralyzed. She could move them, she just seemed to not want to walk.

    She wanted to drink so I gave her vitamin enriched water. Her mouth just kept working and her head was unsteady. Someone here suggested she might have eaten a bee because they thought had heard a pained sound from the ducks about an half hour before (I can't confirm this for certain) and she was near the beehive.

    After about an hour of giving her terramycin water, her eyes appeared better. I crushed a tiny bit of children's benadryl and gave it to her in water.

    Couple hours later her eyes were back to normal and the heat was gone. But she still couldn't walk.

    I bathed her in warm water and eventually her legs went from being spread behind her to underneath her in normal position. She began quacking again and eating and drinking. However she now only walks on her hocks, using her wings and tail for support / balance. She moves quite often.

    Her feet respond and are not "dead." If I turn her over she spreads her feet and paddles her legs. But once I put her on the ground she curls her feet and refuses to walk on them.

    On close inspection she has a pretty swollen area that looks like bumble foot which I cleaned out. The other foot has smaller swollen areas... not enough to cause complete lameness... at least I think so.

    Could bumble foot really cause complete lameness? It's really swollen but not so where it shows on the top of the feet. And it's only on one foot.

    Also, bumblefoot wouldn't cause the symptoms of choking....

    She looks perfectly fine now - bright and quite wild again. She eats and drinks well and is quite active for not moving her feet. She drags herself on her hocks.

    Poop is normal.

    It's been wet and cold here but they come inside at night. I've only had them for 8 days and they are not mine so I don't know what my friend feeds them.

    I've been giving her 3 ccs of Nutri-Drench 3 times a day just in case it's nutritional. Plus kelp and brewers yeast (she got supplemented with minerals during her stay with me)

    She is the smallest the three ducks I'm boarding. They are really wild and beat themselves against the cage everytime I pass. They seemed stressed during their stay and I don't know if they ate well.

    Some theories:

    1.) Bee sting in mouth or throat that caused the pain and choking. If swelling was internal around the head area, this would affect balance and mobility... but 24 hours later.... would she still not be able to walk?

    2.) Some sort of head trauma?

    3.) There was a late egg laid ... not sure if it was hers but if it was... could be a pinched nerve. But why the crazy ill look before?

    4.) Egg bound? But there is no straining or uncomfortable motions. At the onset of this, I felt her belly and there was no egg. Now I feel an egg but it's probably developing to be laid tomorrow. Regardless, I have been giving her hot baths.

    5.) Botulism ruled out due to her improvement and her legs still responding.

    6.) Ear infection causing mobility problems?

    7.) Nutritional problem? Was this something due to my friend's feeding habits? Or can it show up in a mere 7 days of care? (which would mean my fault).

    8.) Bee sting, bumblefoot and injury? She got stung by a bee... panicked, hurt her leg and with the bumble foot on the other leg, decided to just not walk?

    There is no heat in her legs now... although there was some right after her legs gave out.

    ANY help would be greatly appreciated!!!! Please respond and help me figure this out. I feel so responsible. I'll have to face my friend tomorrow and I'm a bit freaked out.

    She looks and acts perfectly healthy.... except for the shuffling on her hocks!

    Last edited: Dec 27, 2008

  2. #1California Chick

    #1California Chick Songster

    Dec 5, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    [​IMG] Welcome to BYC -- there are also many duck lovers/owners on this site.

    WOW!! I am very impressed with what you have done and how you have analyzed the problem(s). Unfortunatley, I don't anything about ducks!! However, I am sure that with the detailed info that you have supplied, someone on this site will be able to help you.

    Good Luck!!

  3. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    some micronutrients/minerals are toxic in excess... check the "nutri-drench" and make sure you are not giving an excessive amount. Sounds like Botulism to me (it can vary in severity)... keep separated until recovered.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  4. Journey

    Journey Hatching

    Dec 27, 2008
    Thanks for the welcome, Cindy.

    Dlhunicorn, thanks for the reply - I do appreciate it but I don't think it is botulism. It has been rainy here but they are penned in an area where there is no green waste. Her pond was scrubbed and filled every day and her feed put in a fresh pan every morning. From what I read, Botulism is something that need food to go spoiled, particularly on hot days.... which isn't what we've been having... what with freezes every night.

    I examined her pen and there wasn't anything that was molded, spoiled, or off. I mean if you saw where she was penned, you'll understand why I don't think she found anything spoiled.

    Anyhow, that is just my gut feeling. I will stand corrected if I am wrong and happily eat crow if only she recovers!

    If it IS a mild case... she'll recover? I can't really isolate her... she gets so upset and depressed at being alone. She's with her two companions and they sleep together. I think her mental health is important at this moment.

    Botulism wouldn't explain the sick reaction, the sunken eyes, the pained choking...?

    Thanks for the warning about the nutri-drench. I did save a duck through the use of it.... (and who is now pushing 8 years of age) but I wish there was a site telling us how much is "toxic." I read about people who had ducks with leg problems and they would dose them with vitamin A... but no one ever says how much.

    This is really eating me up inside... I feel so bad for her when she drags herself along. She's perky and bright... just not using her feet - only in water.

    But perhaps this is something time will heal?

    I'll keep putting her in the pond so she can bathe and making she she has a softplace to rest so she doesn't go bald on the chest...

    She is amazingly active... scarfing her food and quacking her little head off.

    On another note... how do you give a duck an injection if need be? I can't find their skin under all those feathers... not like chickens.

    - Journey
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  5. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    Botulism first hits the throat area causing (partial)paralysis (dependent on severity) there and the bird will have been unable to drink or eat. If the bird ate an insect that had fed on an infected carcass r other source of botulism it can be transferred in that way. There are indeed other things to cause these symptoms but your comment on the throat seems to point at this.
    If she is penned then that is sufficient. You will have to monitor and perhaps help her to get sufficient fluids (do not give dry feed ... my friend who runs a waterfowl sanctuary withholds feed the first 24 hours but helps with fluids)...
    Just to be sure it isnt a case of excess micronutrient/mineral I would withhold all that... If it was the beesting then she will either recover rom it or not (same with the botulism).
    You can go to the pet store and get babyparrot handfeeding formula for it .
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008

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