Six-month old duck, niacin deficiency?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Villainess, Oct 10, 2019.

  1. Villainess

    Villainess Chirping

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    Good evening.

    My husband’s friend has a duck with leg problems, and I’m curious if her condition is treatable or reversible. I have a feeling not, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. I’m only recently a first-time chicken and duck owner, so I’m hoping for some feedback from you all. I could not get pictures, but these are the details I observed and/or asked about after seeing the poor thing yesterday.

    • She appears to be a female Pekin, around 6 months old (he got his ducks a few days before we got ours).

    • She looks like she’s trying to do the front splits—her left leg is stretched completely out behind her, her right leg is out in front but her chest is laying on top of it.

    • The only way she can even move is by using her wings to try to drag herself around. She doesn’t make it far or quickly, but the friend keeps her food and water less than a foot away from the duck. When I walked up to her enclosure, she was clearly terrified of me and wanted to escape, but couldn’t. I didn’t stay near her too long for fear of overly distressing her.

    • Since she is not elevated off the ground by her legs, when she poops she’s laying in her own excrement. The feathers of her bottom are all matted up with feces and whatever else she picks up while dragging herself across the ground. Her bottom reminds me of pictures I’ve seen of chicks with pasty butt.

    • I briefly tried touching the left leg (it’s splayed out behind her, so most accessible) to assess the possibility of any true external injury, but there was nothing to be found, just a leg that felt completely stiffened up and the joint appeared inflamed (swollen) and warm to the touch.

    • From the time he brought the ducks home, he’s always fed them whatever his chickens were eating. First medicated chick starter, then layer feed.

    • For several months after purchasing, the ducklings were housed in his closet, in a plastic drawer that comes in one of the 3-drawer setups like this:
    upload_2019-10-10_21-19-16.jpeg
    • The ducks have been living outside for nearly 2 months now, but it wasn’t until right before moving them outside that they were given a niacin supplement. *This only after he had made a comment to my husband that the duckling walked bow-legged or pigeon-toed and I suggested adding niacin to their feed.*

    My heart breaks to see this poor duck that surely can’t have much quality of life. Just to drag herself back to her water bowl appeared to exhaust her. And the fact that she’s sitting in her own excrement cannot be good. There is another female Pekin that was brought home at the same time that seems perfectly healthy, though the differences in body mass and even disposition between the two ducks is glaringly obvious.

    Was this the result of a niacin deficiency or something entirely different? I tried doing some reading to prepare for anything with MY birds, but I’m no expert and this is not my duck. Is this something that can be reversed at this point? If so, how? Is it likely that of the two ducks raised together and fed the same food, one would develop normally but not the other? In the event this is not treatable or reversible, what do you feel the right course of action would be?

    My husband has brought up the topic of humanely euthanizing the poor duck, but his friend says he just can’t do it himself and thinks the duck should live out her life. My husband has offered to handle it for the friend, him and I both agreeing that we would not wish to euthanize one of our birds (or ANY of our fur/feather babies) either, but have a mutual understanding that we would if there was no chance of that animal having any quality of life or if the animal was in pain; it’s selfish and not fair to that animal to let it suffer, prolonging the inevitable, simply because we refuse to part with it by doing the humane thing.

    I welcome all thoughts and suggestions. If I have not posted in the proper area, I apologize.



    Thanks in advance!



    ~Alicia
     
  2. DiYMama540

    DiYMama540 Crowing

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  3. annaBsChick

    annaBsChick Songster

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    It's probably a combination of issues, considering the poor care the bird has been receiving. However, splay leg stands out to me, which is reversible if taken care of now - http://www.duckdvm.com/condition/splay-leg
     
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  4. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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  5. Suedan

    Suedan Songster

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  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Enabler

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    Human B Complex tablets or the liquid form from most pharmacies would be a good way to supplement niacin and other B vitamins. But I don’t know if the damage could be repaired this late. Unfortunately, I do not know much about ducks, and would rather other familiar give advice.
     
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  7. Villainess

    Villainess Chirping

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  8. Villainess

    Villainess Chirping

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    Thank you for the literature. That stood out to me as well, but I’m wondering if it’s a combination of issues, too :(
     
  9. Villainess

    Villainess Chirping

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    Thank you for the info, @Eggcessive . I’m leaning towards the niacin deficiency myself, but the splay leg info sounds fitting, too. I will provide this info to the friend and owner of the duck, and maybe he will reach out to an avian vet since she’s not mine.
     
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  10. Villainess

    Villainess Chirping

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    Thank you all for your suggestions and information. It is not my duck, so ultimately whatever happens to her is out of my hands, but I hate to see any animal suffer. I too am thinking it’s too late, so I’m hoping that he’ll make the right, educated choice with some of this info. At the very least, maybe he’ll find a vet that will help him understand that if she is suffering as she appears to be, then keeping her around is not doing her any kindness or favors :(

    Regards,

    ~Alicia
     
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