Sick baby - Worried momma - Confused sides


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 4, 2013
Gig Harbor, WA
My 3-week-old Indian Runner has something odd going on and I am one upset, worried mom. Yesterday, I gave my two boys their niacin/electrolyte supplement for the first time. Today, I noticed that Cheese had a runny nose. That's gone now, so I'm not super concerned about that but I'm going to go ahead and list everything that's happened in hopes that someone can help. About an hour after I noticed his nose, I saw him laying down to drink out of his water bowl. This was EXTREMELY out of the norm for him, so I pulled him out to see what was going on. He walked along just fine and followed me, being his sweet, adventurous, perky and pesky self. But when he stood still, his legs started shaking so bad that he'd kinda wobble and then have to sit down. Worried, I made an appointment with the vet.
We're not sure what's going on with him. His poop is runny, and so is Quackers'. The shakiness was already getting slightly better by the time we got to the vet but definitely still there. The vet ultimately couldn't determine what was going on, but she thought it could be an electrolyte imbalance, so I was told to discontinue the supplement (so - no niacin ... ? I'm reading how important it is so I'm confused!). She gave me probiotics for the runny poop for both boys. She thought MAYBE it could be he got into something and maybe he has lead positioning, but neither of us think that's likely. We can do an x-ray in a few days if he keeps getting worse. She also said it could be growing pains, and gave me anti-inflammatories for him in case his joints are hurting.
So I got him home and let him sleep for a few hours. Then I pulled them out and put them in the tub because I was reading that water therapy could help his little legs. He had a blast as the tub was filling, as he usually does. He is by far the water baby out of the two boys. He could just float on the water and sleep and be happy. But as the water got deeper tonight, I noticed that if he wasn't kicking his feet and was trying to just float, his front end would slowly start sinking into the water until his beak became submerged and either he would kick or I'd reach my hand in. So instead of floating flat, he's now starting to sink!
Someone please help. I love these babies so so much. I'm broken hearted just worrying about him, and although he's acting just as normal as the day before all of this started ... I'm still so scared I could lose him.
It is good to have the help of a vet. Did anyone consider doing a fecal test to look for problems there?

My runners would sometimes lie down in front of the water bowl to drink.

I don't see how niacin would cause an electrolyte imbalance. Perhaps you want to confirm that it's okay to continue niacin.

Also, each duck is an individual, what works for most may not always work for one. That said, I have not heard of niacin being problematic. Again, a vet knows more than I do (I hope).

At three weeks, runners don't have their full feathers and oil, so I am not surprised he started sinking.
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Amiga, thank you for checking in. We did the fecal test and they didn't find anything - worms would have been found at that point, right? So the Niacin I was giving them as a supplement also supplemented different electrolytes, so it's a combo. Something's really telling me that I still need to keep him on the Niacin. Where would I get that alone?
He also only started laying down when all of this started, which is why I noticed something was going on and saw his wobbly legs from there.
As for the water, ok - I totally can understand that because of his age ... But I've been putting them in the tub regularly since they were hatched, so is this sinking thing something that can just come on? Will it go away?
I'm so sorry for so many questions! I'm just a worried first-time mommy :(
At a pharmacy you can find niacin tablets make sure they are not flush free or time release, just regular old niacin. Otherwise, sprinkle brewers yeast on top of their food
At a pharmacy you can find niacin tablets make sure they are not flush free or time release, just regular old niacin. Otherwise, sprinkle brewers yeast on top of their food

and no worries about questions, caring and concern.

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