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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I have a pigeon (Reva) who can't walk. When I got her I was told she had a broken leg that was healing. After getting a better look I suspected splay leg since one leg stuck out to the side and the toes on the other curled to the side. I brought her to an avian vet and he told me it was broken but she would learn to hop on the other one. (resetting the broken leg would cost $1,000 and on a fixed income I could not afford it.)
Well she can't hop and now the second leg is starting to stick out too, also her rump/tail feathers point to the side now. I'm wondering if the problem is congenital? I called the vet and he said they'd have to run tests. I don't know when I'll be able to do that. In the meantime does anyone have any thoughts about what's going on and possible treatments?
If this wasn't bad enough she also can't fly now because she broke her flight feathers from dragging herself and beating them against the cage. Now I keep her in a cat bed with a towel and bring her food and water.

I should add that I don't raise pigeons. This all started when I found two fledglings (Lucie and Louie) in a busy parking lot. I brought them home to raise and release but Lucie stayed. She'd get so upset in the evening when roosting I'd have to sit outside with her until dark. So I went looking for a companion. Only bird I could find was a baby someone found and couldn't care for- Rocky. He's become the light of my life- but was too young to go outside. Lucie couldn't wait and finally took off. Enter Reva.

I've also been caring for a wild pigeon that was shot with a pellet gun (Leo). His wound has healed nicely but I guess muscle damage is preventing flight.
And Rocky disappeared for a week and a half, a very sad time. Turned out someone in the neighborhood keeps a window cracked open so his cats can come and go. He came home to find Rocky sitting in his chair with a hurt wing and dropped him off at the vet! Nice guy. But now I have 3 pigeons and none of them can fly!
Sorry for rambling, but this has been quite a journey. With my 3 cats my family has basically doubled. (but I'm hoping Leo will be able to return to his flock.)
Thanks for reading and I appreciate any advice about Reva.
 

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Would you please post a picture of Reva, how old is it, any problems with eating pooping. Where are you situated. More info may help finding out what is wrong and solution.
 

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Stupid vet could have at least splinted and stabilzed the hurt leg so there'd be some bone & scar tissue growth to make it heal with some semblance of stability - that only would have taken 10 minutes or so (sorry but that really makes me angry) :mad: Post some pics - perhaps some things can be done to improve Reva's situation :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
plamenh- No problems with eating. Her poops are fairly firm but smelly, and sometimes have brown or green mixed in with the white. However they've been eating a mixture of wild bird, cockatiel and parakeet seeds. Today I will pick up proper pigeon feed, unless I have to wait and order it.

TAWhatley- Thank you for the welcome! I live in Magalia, CA. I haven't used a photo hosting website in years, but I will try to set one up soon and get pics.

Jaye- I'm not sure a splint would have helped at that point. She was still a kid then, but fully feathered and this problem didn't appear to be recent. I do wonder why the vet thought the leg was broken though.

As for her age- she must have been about 25-30 days old when I got her and that was 3 months ago so she should be around 4 months old now.
 

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Atti...the poops shouldn't be smelly. She may have canker which is not a big deal to treat as most Pigeons carry it in their system, and you can buy the medicine to treat it at Jedd's Pigeon Supply. A common medicine used to treat canker is Spartrix or Metronidazole.

Tell us...does she have one good leg?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Charis- She was treated for canker with metronidizole when I got her in September. I'll check her throat to see if it came back. She also had a parasite (can't remember what the vet said it was) that was treated with Baytril. Rocky was also treated at the same time, just in case he had them.

When I got her the left leg was vertical but the toes curled. Now that leg is also sticking out to the side. She's never been kept on a slick surface since I've had her.
So sadly, no good leg now.
 

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You should try splay leg correction. If the problem is not recent, why didn't you take steps sooner. Leg/wing problems does not disapear by themself.
What I would do is use sponge method to fix legs together

and place him in the sling to take weight of the legs


It is slow process best to be used the moment problem appears but it may work with your pigeon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
plamenh- I said the problem didn't appear to be recent. I would think the original person who bred her and raised her for a month should have tried correcting a potential splay leg. She didn't. Instead she told me the bird had a healing broken leg.
I'm well aware that leg/wing problems don't take care of themselves. Which is why, after picking her up on a Saturday evening, I got her to an avian vet on Monday. Problem is, he backed up her diagnosis. And as I said in an earlier post- he assured me Reva would learn to hop on the good leg, even though the toes twisted to the side. I trusted the expert. He was wrong. Now I'm here asking advice, and will soon post a pic.
Trust me- I'm doing everything I can for her on my meager means.
From what I've read treating splay legs (if that's even what she has) has to be done in the first few weeks. If you have experience with it helping at 4 months old I will certainly try it.
 

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My heart goes out to you for everything you're doing. You came to the right place for help. Everyone on this site is phenomenal in their knowledge of pigeons and just exceptionally good, caring human beings.
I have no doubt caring for 3 flightless birds is a huge burden! It warms my heart that there are people like you in the world!
 

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Atti - l also echo those who thank you for your concern for your pigeon friend. lt is a bit frustrating however reading some of your replies to suggestions - regardless of whether injuries were recent or not, folks here are giving you some advice on things to try to give your friend a decent quality of life, as the condition seems to be devolving. Correcting the good leg at least (my suggestion is to create a sort of 'shoe sole' out of cardboard or plastic which prevents the toes from curling underneath her leg taped to her foot - as well as Plamenh's suggestion of bringing the legs together) may help matters. lt also doesn't matter if the leg condition was old or recent - your description sounded like the vet properly diagnosed a broken leg - and if so he\she should have offered some form of corrective step which did not require a $1000 surgery, because there are some alternatives. So, you have received some decent advice on what you can do as far as the legs and also regarding the possible return of canker.
 

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OK, let's not knock the poster. This person has said they are willing to try corrective treatment for splay leg. So has anyone tried it for a pigeon of this age or not?

Jaye's suggestion for correcting the toes is worth trying, too. Feefo used what she calls a foot glove for some birds - this is from an old post (the company name - a pharmacy chain in UK - won't be relevant, but I expect self-adhesive bandage is available all over)

Boots sell a blue self adhesive support bandage, it has a picture of a bandaged elbow in the box.

What you have to do is spread the foot out and put it between two layers of the bandage then press the bandage between the toes so it adheres to itself. I call that a foot glove.
Also you may find this topic of interest - concerning one of our splay-legged birds. Post #1

http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/showthread.php?t=8151&highlight=foot+glove

The ref to Webshots will include two albums relevant - one is Foot Glove the other is Splay Leg

http://community.webshots.com/user/cyro51

This pigeon was only about 6 weeks at the time the legs were corrected, however.

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you so much doveone52. Rocky is doing much better. He even made it to the top of the bookcase last night- his favorite spot to sleep. You're right, it has been a bit overwhelming. But that's because I'm also dealing with one cat that has urine crystals and another that had a bout of his chronic bacterial infection. The infection gets into his brain and he acts brain-damaged. At least we found an antibiotic that works, but it comes back a few times a year.
And I'm constantly having to police the whole bird/cat situation. The biggest issue is Rocky attacking them and driving them out of their beds!

John_D- Thank you, too. I will look at those links. Hopefully things will be clearer when I post pics. One of the problems is her once good leg also sticks out now.
I set up an account with a photo site but every time I try to take pics she starts flopping and beating her wings. I may have to wait until my friend gets here so he can hold her. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sorry I couldn't get better pictures. My camera isn't that great. Hopefully these pics will still help make her problems clearer.

Original bad leg and now tail/rump turned to the side:



Front view showing original bad leg and newly bad leg:



Another front view showing both legs and rump:

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
As long as I mentioned them,

here's Leo, rehabbing from a pellet gun shot:



And the boss, my Rocky:

 

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Hi Atti,

Boy! You have your hands full there with needy pigeons! Bless you for helping them.

The photos are very informative, and I appreciate you posting them.

My personal opinion is that the lovely little splay legged pigeon is NOT fixable by anything short of surgery by a very skilled vet and perhaps not even then. The bird is old enough and large enough that those bones and joints are pretty much "set" the way they are.

I have tried a couple of times to at least improve upon a bird that came in with very similar problems to yours, and it just wasn't doable and the attempt was extremely uncomfortable for the bird and for me.

Though I may get chastised for my honesty with you here, I don't think that little bird with the splayed legs is fixable pretty much regardless of what you try or how much you might spend on veterinary surgery.

I have also kept and tried to keep birds that are as crippled as your little one. A few of them I was able to give a decent quality of life for a few years, but it's a daunting undertaking for both the bird and yourself.

I think you are facing having to make a difficult decision regarding this little bird .. keep it and do your best to keep it comfortable with some quality of life or have the youngster put to sleep.

Terry
 

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In looking at the poor little thing, I'm inclined to agree that the bird is too old to fix the legs by just setting them now. Maybe with surgery. The other leg probably grew outward because of him being on his belly all the time because of the other leg. Trying to pull them together now would probably just be uncomfortable for him, and very stressful. Too bad. These things are usually so easy to fix if done early on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you both for the replies. I was afraid this was the case.

TAWhatley- I actually expected the avian vet would reccommend she be put down. (Both he and his tech raise pigeons, and the tech at least also races them, so I figured he would know what's wrong.) After knowing her for less than 2 days I was prepared to do that- or at least as prepared as you can ever be. Now I can't do it, so long as she isn't suffering.
Since you have experience with birds in this state would you mind sharing a little more about how things went? Does this condition cause pain?
Reva has been more agitated these last few weeks, even pecking my friend and Rocky at times. Also flapping a lot which means I have to wrap her before giving her food and water. But I think this may have started when I stopped taking her out of the bed. I used to let her get about on the carpet just so she wouldn't feel so trapped. But instead of just trying to get to a certain spot she was flopping frantically and getting minor injuries in the process so I stopped. (still move her bed to give her a change of scenery).
I think she will be happier when she's able to fly again. For a while the broken feathers were falling out and I thought she was molting but new ones haven't grown in yet. When do they normally molt?
It's not easy caring for her with my health issues and all these other critters needing attention too but I will give her the best life I can. Any advice you can give me based on your experiences would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Another question- you mentioned some of your birds lived for a few years. Does that mean they die earlier? Or does it mean the quality of life degrades over time and it becomes kinder to put them down?
I hate even contemplating these scenarios but I also want to be educated and prepared. While I've had experience with a lot of different kinds of animals/birds I'm new to pigeons. I didn't even know what splay leg was. Her legs looked splayed and so that's what I entered in the google search. That's when I found out it was the actual name of the condition.

P.S. I corrected it before posting, but Rocky walked across the keyboard while I was typing and changed my text. A while back he managed to rename one of my bookmarks- fr8l'. It's a CA news discussion forum. I left it as fr8l'. He knows he's not allowed on my laptop and usually jumps on when I'm out of the room or busy doing something else. He's such a brat.
Sorry, I know I went off topic. Sometimes it helps to think about the wonderful things our animals give us when also dealing with the sad situations.
 
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