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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About one-and-a-half week ago my now 35 day old Eurasian collared dove enthusiastically broke one of her joints on her 2nd flight. To us humans it looks like the knee but it's actually her ankle.
It was a Saturday so only very few vets were open, and I quickly went to the vet who was. He put me through the difficult choice: to splint the joint now or to take it to the emergency post who would have put a metal pin in the joint, of which the vet said it would have been extremely expensive with an unsure outcome.

I was upset and could see the little dove was in so much pain so I opted for the immediate splint and Meloxicam a.s.a.p. Also because I thought: she's still growing and putting a metal pin in there seems like a bad idea for a tiny growing bird.
1. Was I right?

The vet said there is a very, very big chance this joint will not be flexible, and my little dove won't ever be able to use her leg ever again. Which seems like such a sad tragedy for such a young bird who I will hope will live at least 10 years or more.

But here is the thing: I can see she is now able to move/wiggle her toes a little bit on her broken leg. She can't bend them, but:
2. Is it a good sign already that she is able to move the toes a bit?
3. And I wonder: is it possible to perform physiotherapy on a dove?
4. Is there anything else I can do to make her be able to use that leg again?

She is happily flying and hopping about and preening, but really doesn't like to use that leg for walking yet. When walking she usually keeps the hurt leg all the way up, so she doesn't land on it. Or: she keeps her toes very stiff when landing on them.
She does sit on the hurt leg while at rest.
And she sometimes uses the limp foot while trying to perch on a stick, but still quite clumsily.
5. I also think that her broken leg now looks smaller than the other and I wonder if they will grow to be the same size at some point?

6. What are other people's experiences with a broken ankle on such a young pigeon?

I made a drawing that shows what her toes look like currently (attached) - the vet wants to see me back next Wednesday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Surely there must be more people out there who had a young dove or young pigeon growing up with a broken leg/joint?
I'm really hoping to hear people's experiences, especially when their legs weren't fully grown yet, and how they aged with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
In case anyone else out there is also looking for "Physical therapy for pigeons" I will update my own thread with the experiences I am having.
This morning I went back to see the vet.
The leg seems to be healing very well, but is not quite ready yet after having been in a splint for two and a half weeks. The splint has now been removed.
The vet said the joint is indeed growing back but has dislocated slightly, which is very common. This means the healing will take a bit longer than if the bones would have been in the perfect position.

Now the idea is to put her back in a cage but: with a lowered ceiling.
This will force her to walk on the leg, which will make the bone grow back better, but it will prevent her from flying; she isn't allowed to land on her feet in this stage without the splint. I guess this you could actually see as a form of physiotherapy, or revalidation at least.
Also I have to give her 0,1ml of Meloxicam/painkiller (at 0.5 mg/ml concentration) daily for another week.

The good news is she is very well able to bend her toes now and she is eating well and scratches her head with the bad leg. Also the vet, who has a specialisation in birds, said that the prognosis for a full recovery looks quite good but you never know. The hurt legs looks a little bit smaller than the good leg. No clue yet whether this will remain like that.

New update coming next week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
A final update for people who might be looking for information on the healing of a broken leg for a young pigeon.
I had to keep my dove in a lowered cage for 1 week (see attached photo), which was terrible and hard. Since about 3 times a day she had 'escape fits' and would get super hyper trying to push herself through the bars. She even injured her toenail which started bleeding - I was able to stop the blood with custard powder(!) (=99% corn starch) but it was so very stressful she started mouth breeding. After putting her back in the cage, she recovered within a minute though.

Today I went back to the vet - he was very satisfied with how her leg has healed. She is now allowed to fly around the house again, doesn't need painkillers no more, and immediately went back to come and sit with me (and on top of me) and has enjoyed many long cuddles.
She has gained full use of her toes and leg/joint.

However:
- she has a small limp which will stay permanent
- the hurt leg is slightly shorter now because she was still growing (she is now 51 days old), so this will also remain like that

It saddens me she will have permanent effects from this but it's great that she is a home pet and can hop around and sit on branches as if nothing happened.

~
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
After 8 months I would like to give another update: the leg has now completely healed, and the limp is also completely gone. There are no signs at all of the joint ever having been broken (I guess only an X-ray would be able to make that visible). So this is good news.

The little dove is doing well, has been DNA tested, turned out he be male, is happily sitting on feggs, and will be having his 1st birthday in 2 months from now.
 
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