Twisting leg on Blue Swedish duckling - Any way to fix this?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by NiftyChick, Apr 22, 2007.

  1. NiftyChick

    NiftyChick Songster

    Jan 26, 2007
    As of last night our Blue Swedish duckling cannot walk right and I think it may have a broken leg. I don't know anything about splinting....or if that would even help at this point.

    I can't see vast differences between the good and bad leg, but the bad leg twists inward when she tries to stand on it. It seemed kind of like the foot might be painful....the rest of the leg doesn't seem to be painful until up into the feathers....I think. I tried to feel for structural damage, but couldn't tell anything....though I started freaking out feeling around much in her body area as it seemed to be causing her pain.

    Is it possible that it's not a problem with the bone? Is it possible for this type of injury to mend? Is there anything I can do to make her more comfortable if it is something that can heal? Any pointers on feeling for broken bones, etc?

    ANY help would be appreciated.

    Thank you!

    Emily (NiftyChick)

    ----Nifty-Chicken edit----
    Wanted to add: The duckling was 3 weeks old and was in perfect fine shape. One day it went from walking fine to looking injured. We can't see anything hurt when it is picked up, but can tell there is something wrong when it tries to walk
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2007
  2. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    Problems (Cripples, Leg Weakness, Lameness)
    All birds can be affected by leg problems, but they are seen more often in meat-type birds. The legs may twist at odd angles to the body, or may have an abnormal hock angle (angular deformities) that gives a bow-legged look, or an exaggerated cow-hock appearance. Often the problem gets severe enough that the bird can not move easily to obtain adequate feed or water and slowly wastes away. Other problems can occur in the upper joint of the leg. These birds also appear to have difficulty moving around.

    One of the main factors related to the angular deformities seen in broiler chickens and in turkeys is rapid growth early in life. It has been demonstrated many times that by slowing the birds down, either through lighting programs or mild feed restriction, that the number of crippled birds is reduced. Examples of these methods are described in the metabolic disease section.

    If the floor of the brooding area is not covered with a good layer of bedding, young birds will slip and slide. This can cause leg problems, especially in young turkeys and waterfowl. It is also important to keep the litter fairly dry, but not dusty. Wet litter can contribute to leg problems and wounds on the feet.

    Nutritional deficiencies or imbalances can affect leg development and cause abnormalities. Vitamin or mineral deficiencies (manganese, zinc, selenium, vitamin E, choline, biotin, niacin, folic acid, riboflavin, pyridoxine) can cause the twisted leg appearance or angular deformities in broiler chickens and turkeys. Protein deficiencies or amino acid imbalances can also cause problems.

    Microbial infection can also cause leg problems. The joints may or may not be swollen, and the birds resist moving around. Reducing stresses will help to prevent this problem. This can be done by avoiding chilling (especially at night) or crowding the birds, preventing wet litter condition, and practising good preventative disease measures."

    In addition to Riboflavin, manganese is often indicated:
    "Manganese deficiency in the diet of growing chicks and poults results in perosis, or slipped tendon. Manganese-deficient chicks have less proteoglycan in the cartilage of the tibial growth plate than manganese-repleted chicks (253). This contributes to the perosis condition which involves a twisting and bending of the tibia, and slipping of the gastrocnemius tendon from its condyles. With increasing severity chicks are reluctant to move, squat on their hocks and soon die. In laying and breeding birds, a manganese deficiency results in lowered egg production and hatchability and reduced eggshell strength. In many cases, embryos that die as a result of manganese deficiency exhibit chondrodystrophy, a condition characterized by a parrot-like beak, wiry down and shortening of the long bones (95, 141).

    Table 28 gives information on the manganese requirement of poultry and other animals. It varies considerably with the different classes of poultry. Ducks normally require 30-50 ppm (300). Manganese source also influences requirement. Manganese sulfate has the highest bioavailability, while manganese oxide and manganese carbonate are only about 30 and 55% as available as the sulfate (254)." (go to link to see chart for how much to give)
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2007
  3. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    Since your duck is not a meat bird, can you post a pic of the duckling and it's little foot? I have a duck with a foot pronated at a 45 degree angle inward.
    I am told it is a nutritional defienciency of some kind, but by the time I got her she was an adult and far too late for me to fix.
  4. ChinaChicks1

    ChinaChicks1 Songster

    Jan 30, 2007
    NE Oklahoma
    I've been dealing with this with one of my emu females and although this won't apply with your duck directly go to this link here..(just telling you that so you will know that i've had it happen to me)

    you can get some Polyvisol (liquid baby vitamins)and give 3-5 drops for a week then taper off that should help. (If it's a riboflavin deficiency) I had even taken a tshirt and made a sling using the arm holes for the legs. Bird didn't like it too much, but had to do it. Good luck.
  5. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    Terrie...I went and double checked on the riboflavin thing for ducks...and according to the TUFTS veterinary zoological courseware it says this (so I am interpreting this as applicable for ducks too):

    "4.4. Angular Limb Deformities
    (Perosis,Slipped tendon disease, Chondrodystrophy, Curled toe paralysis)

    Perosis is a condition of 4-12 week old chickens, turkeys and pen-reared pheasants and quail. It may also be seen in other rapidly growing birds such as ratites, cranes, waterfowl, etc. This condition occurs as the result of lateral slippage of the gastrocnemius (Achilles) tendon at the tibiotarsal (hock) joint due to a generalized disorder of long bone growth plates resulting in impaired linear growth. Normal bone mineralization is maintained. The tendon is also histologically normal, however there is an enlargement of the hock joints and a secondary varus or valgus deformity of the lower leg.
    The etiology of perosis is complex and associated with a deficiency or imbalance in dietary manganese, choline, biotin, folic acid, niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and zinc. ...."

    Hopefully the supplementation will help...if not I dont think it will hurt...
  6. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator

    My sweet wife niftychick, maybe we should take a quick video and post it?

    Thanks everyone for your posts. I haven't been able to look at the duckling closely myself (been really busy with the forum), but when I did look at it, I noticed that it seemed like it had really hurt itself. It went from walking fine to super limping overnight. It really acts / walks like a person would who has hurt their foot or leg (putting all its weight on the other leg and limping on the other).

    I'm thinking it is an internal injury, either a brake, sprain, or something like that. Emily's looked over the foot and leg and it "looks" just like the other (no wounds, infection, etc.)
  7. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    ohhh that would be most helpful Rob...I was mainly basing my info on your wifes use of the word "twisted" >it may not be "twisted" leg at all (which can also seem to happen overnight...this is what hapened to chinas emu and it steadily got worse twisting each day worse as i understand it, but she too thought at first it was an injury.)
    might not hurt to go ahead with the supplementation though because if it is something that can be helped by the supplements I have read you have to treat fast for it to work.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2007
  8. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator

    Yeah, I think pictures and/or a video will be a good idea, I'll get on that tonight.

    Emily was doing her exam hoping she could see where the leg was broken or twisted so she could splint it, but didn't see any obvious differences between the good and bad leg. It may be something at the hip?
  9. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    Rob, I know it is alot of reading...but here is my collected info on LEG PROBLEMS...very good descriptions of different problems in these articles

    now if you think it is truly sprained or injured in that way
    I have other articles on that (injuries) so let me know and I will post those for you which might be of some help there (some with photos of different bandaging techniques etc) the duckling on or has it been on a slippery surface where it might have splayed and injured it self that way? (and even if you think it is an injury some of the conditions described in the articles above describe plate problems and tendon problems which might be look like an "injury")
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2007
  10. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator

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