Duckling with a twisted leg??

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by mirandaleecon, Oct 4, 2016.

  1. mirandaleecon

    mirandaleecon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a duckling, named Beverly, who is about three weeks old now who has had a rough go at life so far. Her mother was sitting on a nest outside of their pen, so for her safety I confiscated the eggs so she would go back to the pen. Only two showed signs of life so I put them in the incubator and only this poor little duckling made it. I actually had to help her hatch and ended up doing most of the work (I usually try to open the egg just enough to resolve whatever they are caught up on and let them finish kicking themselves out). From the time she was hatched, it seemed like she had problems with her legs. I gave her B complex vitamins in her water which I do think helped to some degree.
    She also came down with a respiratory infection almost immediately. I treated that with tylan 50 and she has recovered from that just fine.
    Now it appears as though her leg is twisting at a weird angle. Most of the times it is bent inward but sometimes it seems to bend outward. Her hock also seems enlarged. My guess is it's a slipped tendon but I have never had this before and I would think she would be less mobile if this was the case so I'm not sure. She has tons of energy now and can actually get up some speed when she's walking but she walks really goofy and very often trips over her own feet. I have some pictures but she is always on the move so it's hard to get a good shot! The pictures below don't seem to show the extent of how much the leg bends at the wrong angle (inward instead of backward).
    I've seen a couple people mention wrapping or bracing the leg but I couldn't seem to find many pictures or to many details. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!
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  2. cyriuskee

    cyriuskee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 10, 2016
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    It's hard to tell by the pictures, but if you think splinting it for a bit will help, I don't see how it could hurt as long as you check it daily.
    To make a little duckling splint, I take a strong tape like duct tape and cut about 8 pieces that would fit from ankle to fuzzy hip. Layer 4 pieces on top of each other twice, making 2 sets of layered tape. Now stick the two layered sets you made on either side of her leg sticking the the tape to itself. Next staple the edges of the excess tape together.
    Keep her as immobile as possible, maybe a small box just bg enough for her and her food & water. Keep giving her niacin supplements and some warm water swimming time without the splint. Change the splint daily or more often.

    Hope your little one does well!
     
  3. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    What a cutie! If it's a slipped tendon, I think time is of the essence - the tendon needs to be put back in the proper position. There's a thread with more info here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/964187/please-help-me-im-desperate-duckling-with-a-slipped-tendon.

    With regard to wrapping it, I find elastic bandage (the kind that sticks to itself) to be invaluable and multi-purpose: I've used it to correct angel wing on a duckling and to straighten crooked toes on a chick. One brand is Vetrap. You'll want to wrap firmly, but not too firmly - 3M (maker of Vetrap) instructs users to wrap at 50% stretch with no tension on the last wrap.

    Good luck!
     
  4. mirandaleecon

    mirandaleecon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the information! I have plenty of vetwrap on hand, I love the stuff!
    So, is the point to splint/bandage their leg so it is straight? I guess that's what I'm kind of stuck on. Will she be able to get around on her own with her leg splinted or will I have to check on her constantly to make sure she's not sitting in her own mess?
     
  5. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, the idea is to hold the leg in the correct position for healing. In Beverly's case, her leg would be fairly straight once wrapped (if you're splinting or wrapping the joint) but she will probably be able to get around on it. You'll need to see how she handles it - she may surprise you. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  6. mirandaleecon

    mirandaleecon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, thank you! I was able to check her out yesterday and it does look like the tendon is on the outside of the hock joint. I briefly attempted to get it back in place but was not successful. It was late though (worked all day, then class until 8:30) and I knew I didn't have time to wrap her up properly and observe her to make sure she would be alright alone like that. When I get home tonight I will wrap her leg and see how that goes. I really hope it's not too late to help her :(
     
  7. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    All you can do is try, right? If it was my duckling, I'd try to correct it until I knew it wasn't correctable, and then I'd have to decide if she had a strong chance of a good quality of life with a disability. I've had to euthanize chicks with leg deformities, believing it to be the most humane decision; on the other hand, I have a blind drake who free ranges with a large flock and does just fine.

    Hoping that you can get Beverly's leg as functional as possible!
     
  8. mirandaleecon

    mirandaleecon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's right and try I will! The way she gets around now, I believe she would have a good quality of life but I'm worried that she won't be able to support her weight once she gets bigger. I've seen ducks with prosthetics so if all else fails, I will track down someone with a 3D printer and print her a leg!

    I do have another duck who has had a lot of issues since she hatched as well. She had wry neck which was mostly corrected with supplements but she's still a bit crooked. Because her head's always a bit cocked to the side, the upward facing eye has suffered (always facing the sun) and she's mostly blind in that eye now. She had angel wing which I corrected by wrapping her but I think I inadvertently messed up her leg (only way to get the wrap to stay was to wrap it tight) and now she limps. Poor girl has been through a lot but she still gets around fine and doesn't seem to be in any pain. Ducks are tough little birds!
     
  9. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    They sure are tough! It's hard to watch them struggle sometimes, but they don't feel sorry for themselves. [​IMG]

    I hope the prosthetics route won't be necessary, but it's good to have the option!

    A BYC poster had mentioned their blind crested duck in a post and I just had to share the story of my drake...a different poster suggested starting a special needs duck thread. Would you be interested in participating in a thread like that?
     
  10. mirandaleecon

    mirandaleecon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I would be!
     

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