Duck with broken leg

Spiase20

In the Brooder
Nov 30, 2019
12
19
23
Hi!

I'm new to this community but have been using the forum in the past for the excellent advice it gives.

I have a Swedish Blue duck about 8 weeks old who tripped while running and broke it's leg. It's broken in the Tibiotarsus right under the knee.

We went to an emergency animal hospital last night. They did x-rays and tried to set it, but none of the splints would hold because she would wiggle it off or remove it. After a long brain storming session with the doctor, my husband and I are currently trying to build a 3d printed cast/splint that will also wrap around her body. We made her a wheel chair but that isn't for her to be in all the time. Attaching photos below.
We alternate between her floating in the tub to rest the foot and laying in the cage as well.

She is inside our house in a dog crate right next to her sister (a Cayuga she was raised she with) who is in a play pen next to her.

Our worry is if the bone doesn't set. Has anyone dealt with ducks and broken legs? The vet said if it doesn't set then we need to amputate. She makes it seem that there is a low chance of her leg getting better without surgery, which is around $2000! Did your duck's leg heal? How do they heal in the wild or on the farm without all this medical help?

Last option would be amputating if nothing works, but I worry about where the break is that a prosthetic wouldn't work.

IMG_20191130_202942730.jpg IMG_20191130_124605809.jpg

IMG_20191130_124559242.jpg IMG_20191130_114224433.jpg
Any advice, experience or stories about this would be so helpful.
 

Ratchnick

Songster
Oct 13, 2019
292
481
118
Anchorage Alaska
You need to decide right now how much money your willing to spend. There are people on this forum who have spent $8000 on vet bills for a single duck. If that is you great, if that is not you then you need to focus on giving your duck as happy a life as possible. Hopefully you can get your duck doing happy duck things. If your duck is miserable all the time and you can't give it a good quality life then you need to consider euthanasia.
 

Spiase20

In the Brooder
Nov 30, 2019
12
19
23
Yeah, we have a set limit already decided, but that is also including the possibility of amputation if it doesn't set.

I researched and discovered that ducks heal fast. I am hoping (along with the vet) that with the 3d printed cast/splint and wheel chair, that it will heal. We have a follow up x-ray in 2 weeks.

She has some pain meds to help and antibiotics. She is acting pretty normal other than the broken leg and is a lot happier that she is back home. The doctor and I don't think euthanasia is needed yet.

Has anyone have a duck leg heal without the surgery? Or last case scenario, how has a duck gotten along with an amputated leg?
 

KaleIAm

Songster
Jul 13, 2015
197
403
171
Carnation, Wa
Yeah, we have a set limit already decided, but that is also including the possibility of amputation if it doesn't set.

I researched and discovered that ducks heal fast. I am hoping (along with the vet) that with the 3d printed cast/splint and wheel chair, that it will heal. We have a follow up x-ray in 2 weeks.

She has some pain meds to help and antibiotics. She is acting pretty normal other than the broken leg and is a lot happier that she is back home. The doctor and I don't think euthanasia is needed yet.

Has anyone have a duck leg heal without the surgery? Or last case scenario, how has a duck gotten along with an amputated leg?
My duck, Gingersnap, broke her leg. It was not a serious break, though, more of a minor fracture. She couldn't walk but her leg wasn't dangling or anything. Her doctor decided not to do surgery, or casting, because it was a simple fracture. She thought that while casting or pins would improve the odds of it setting well it would also improve the odds of infection as ducks poop all over everything. Our vet prescribed pain killers and intense cage rest. I kept Ginger in a very small crate, the goal was to have her move as little as possible. At night I picked her up and moved her and her crate into the coop. During the day I moved her and her crate outside. She was livid. She had to stay in the crate for six weeks. It was very hard to do to her, as she was miserable the entire time, but her leg healed well. I took her back a few times for Xrays to monitor that her bone was healing. I put the other ducks water buckets and food right next to Ginger's crate so that they had to be next to her.

I was willing to spend $8,000 on a single duck, but her doctor thought this was the best way to treat it. It sounds like your duck might have a more complex fracture, so perhaps cage rest alone is not the best option.
 

sylviethecochin

Free Ranging
Jun 14, 2017
5,195
10,581
691
Central PA
I had a little Silver Swedish duck with a broken thigh (leg was swinging back and forth). I braced it with cardboard, taped it flat to her body, and confined her to a rabbit hutch. Three weeks later, I released her. She had a lump on the bone the size of a pea, and still limps a little sometimes, but seems otherwise healthy.
 

Spiase20

In the Brooder
Nov 30, 2019
12
19
23
I am so glad that your duck healed. It warms the heart to hear the success stories. Through my time owning ducks, I have come to realize that they are so frail to everything. And reading other posts just verifies this! Predators, bumblefoot, infections, egg complications....the list just goes on. It terrifies me that I might lose my girls to any of these things.

I had an awful incident last year where a neighbor's dog broke into the coop and killed my two beautiful ducks. One died immediately, and I rushed to two different ERs (one turned me away) trying to save the other. Had to put her down. I still haven't gotten over it.

Then during the spring, even though we have the hard wire mesh on the coop, a snake managed to get in and killed and tried to eat one of my other Swedish blues. She was almost full grown and it shocked me. We fortified their coop to a point where some would think we are paranoid.

Going back to the topic, I hope that in this case, it will heal and no amputation or euthenasia will not be needed.

She is very content now that she is near her sister. They talk to one another through the bars and lay next to each other.

Until we complete and put the splint on, she has been doing floating time in the tub and then time in the wheelchair. She has learned to use it so well! At night we take her off the wheelchair and lay her down in the crate next to her sister.

I just feel like an awful duck parent because I can't afford the operation. We spent $700 on the ER care and are saving $350 for another visit and x-ray in a few weeks.

Here is a video of her scooting around.
She certainly has spunk in her! Her leg is immobilized under her. She is in the crate, but in the video we wanted to make sure she learned how to use the chair.

 

Miss Lydia

Loving this country life
Premium member
Oct 3, 2009
101,589
92,715
1,792
Mountains of Western N.C.
I can’t get over what a nice chair that is. Looks like she’s doing really good with it. I hope she heals and is 100% when she does. I am also very sorry for the losses you’ve had. It is heartbreaking. but sounds like you have their pen secure now and hopefully they will be safe. I had a blk snake kill an try to eat a bantam chick that was 6 weeks old no way that snake could eat her although he tried. It was sad.
 

KaleIAm

Songster
Jul 13, 2015
197
403
171
Carnation, Wa
I know what you mean about ducks being frail. I've experienced everthing you mentioned and more, except predator attacks. In the last 4.5 years I have had ducks half my salary has gone to their veterinary expenses. It's nuts. Gingersnap, after recovering from her broken leg, died 2 months later from a horrible fungal respiratory infection. I feel like I've been through one traumatic illness after another with my ducks. Some of them I've been able to save, others I can't, even though I always take them to the vet and do everything they recommend. My crested pekin has had surgery 3 times!

The predator attacks sound really scary. :( Such a traumatic way to lose your sweethearts. I'm sorry you experienced that.

I don't think you are an awful duck parent. You can only do what you can do. Already you are doing more than what most people would. It is extra hard because duck health issues aren't as easy to solve as cat or dog issues, and exotic vets are more expensive, too.

I'm a fabulous duck parent and I never made a wheelchair for Ginger. I forced her to stay in a crate for 6 weeks. You are a fabulous duck parent, too, doing the best you can.
 
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