Progressive paralysis in young Muscovy ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by brettzim, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. brettzim

    brettzim Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 21, 2008
    I have two young (couple month old) Muscovy Ducks that I got from a large flock a couple weeks ago. They were thin when I got them and have since put in good weight and grown considerably. This weekend I noticed one struggling to walk. I dewormed them after I read a worm infestation can cause ducks to go off their legs. By the end of the weekend they were both 100% lame. I separated them and gave them water with electrolytes (rooster booster) and top dressed their feed with brewers yeast. They have been on a diet of flock raiser since I have had them but previously were being fed oats and corn only I believe. I am not sure if this is a vitamin deficiency, worms, botulism, or something else. I have been calling around to find a vet who sees ducks but few do and no one so far for less than $70 for an exam fee. I am hoping to get them in today but wanted to see if any other duck owners had knowledge. They are alert otherwise and have appetites. Also I have a peking duck who I have had since he was a duckling this spring. He was out with them and is totally healthy. Any thoughts? Thank you.
  2. nickie

    nickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2011
    north central KY
    Off the top of my head... Vitamin deficiency, botulism, Marek's... I don't have any books with me right this moment. Niacin deficiency causes leg problems, but I don't think that's a suddenly can't walk kind of thing. I don't know if ducks can contract Marek's or not.
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Oh, sad to read about their situation.


    After such a long period of malnutrition, it could be niacin deficiency or other deficiency finally causing a cascading reaction in their bodies.

    I would get them on some poultry vitamins as well as the electrolytes and brewer's yeast, see if they will eat some finely chopped kale or leaf lettuce (not iceberg), some kind of greens. If you can, get them into lukewarm water deep enough to float in. That will get some weight off their legs, but give them exercise.

    Also, how are their head and wing movements? Do they appear drunk, or just weak?
  4. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2007
    Fair Oaks, California
    i was having a problem with temporary lameness in my ducks. Adding Brewers Yeast to their daily peas helped resolve that problem - 2 heaping Tablespoons for 7 ducks. If that doesn't resolve it within 24 hours, then you have another problem. i did have one of my ducks come out of the coop completely unable to walk about a month ago. When i took her to the vet they did a fecal test and it was positive for coccidiosis. Treated her with albon for 7 days. i honestly did not think she would make it, she was so weak and could not stand. About 5 days into treatment she started getting feisty and biting when i gave her meds or force fed her. By day 7 she was standing and looked back to normal, other than being thin. She's doing fine now. Can you take a fecal sample into a vet for analysis?

    i agree with Amiga that getting them into lukewarm water to take pressure off the legs can be very helpful.
  5. brettzim

    brettzim Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 21, 2008
    Thank you all for your feedback and insights. I just got home from the vet and his idea was that it is botulism. They did have access to a pretty stagnant pool of water which I have since disposed of but it may have gone unnoticed long enough to develop something they got into. He said there is not much to do except continue what I have been doing. I put them in a kiddie pool of fresh water for about ten minutes, which they enjoyed. They have limited use of their legs when they are floating, which gives me hope for a recovery. They are total pigs with food so they are gobbling down the brewers yeast on their duck food and drinking vitamins in their water. They are very sassy and talkative so no lethargy. But he did say he felt their neck strength was lacking, hence the botulism diagnosis. I have to say, it was pretty frustrating finding a vet who was a reasonable cost. This one was great though. Only charged me for one exam even though he looked at both ducks. I will definitely post follow ups in case this can be of help to anyone else in the future.
  6. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    I hope you caught it in time. The vet is right, make sure they have access to clean water and you might want to supervise them while swimming if you are not doing that now. I've seen animals recover from botulism just by removing themselves from the source of the contamination early enough.
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    [​IMG] for a great outcome.
  8. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Per Storey's Guide, you should treat with a laxative. Either molasses or epsom salts, look at the stickies section for dosage. Hoping for the best.
  9. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana

  10. brettzim

    brettzim Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 21, 2008
    Well, here is the update. The little guys have been living in a dog crate and getting their feed boosted with brewers yeast and water fortified with electrolytes. We take them out daily to paddle in a pond but they sorta hurl themselves out quickly and sit in the grass. I came home from work this morning and went to get them and when I set them down they stood shakily, took a step, and plopped back down, shaking their tail feathers. They fight now when I carry them to the pond and bathe themselves and paddle around now. Still no walking but it looks like they are slowly on the mend. Thank you all again for your advice and kind words.

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