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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I am looking for some advice.
I'm in the UK, and a few days ago I saw a fledgling wood pigeon sat next to a busy road. The road has walls either side, so nowhere to escape, and the bird would have been killed without doubt. I pulled up, ran over, and got hold of it easily.
When I got home, I noticed its right leg was aiming out from what seems like the hip/joint? On feeling over both legs, the right one has a swelling at the top, whereas the left doesn't. Now it will go slowly back into position, but won't stay and comes back out.
I would be happy to try and splint it (have done so to birds lower-legs in the past) but because of the location (hip/joint) I am unsure how best to do it.
The pigeon's only a fledgling, and I am feeding it several times a day. It does pick at food a little itself, but certainly not enough to eat entirely for itself.
I would appreciate any advice, as I am worried the leg will heal in this position. It is currently in the bottom part of a rabbit hutch (I have a non-flying pigeon in the top) and getting around ok with the leg facing out.
Any advice much appreciated.
Thanks
Liz
 

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Liz, thanks for helping this poor little guy out. Do you think you could post up a few photos showing what you are describing.

Here's how: http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/showpost.php?p=525049&postcount=15

Also, here is a link to a pigeon skeleton to help you better describe where you think a break may be:

http://pwp.surfglobal.net/rmangile/Pigeons/Skeleton.html

In the meantime slowly put the leg back into position and get him set up in a "donut" for comfort and support, like below.

http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/showpost.php?p=467722&postcount=6

Good luck,

Karyn
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Karyn,
Thanks for replying. I'll try to get some photos, but I'm on my own this week, so it may be tricky!
Looking at the diagram, it's around the patella area that I can feel the swelling, and it's from that position that the leg aims outwards.
I can try the donut as suggested, but the little guy moves around a lot. I may be able to do this if I put him in a much smaller cage for not to keep him reasonably immobile.
He's very bright and sparky, and it eating well from what I give him.
Let me see what photos I can get...
Thanks again,
Liz
 

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Liz, thanks for the photos. Are you able to clearly feel a break inside the leg, is it "unhinged" so that you can feel one part, the lower, detached from the other, the upper? If you can not clearly feel a break inside, this could be splayed leg, a little hard to tell from the photos, and the treatment for this condition would be completely different than a broken leg.

Where exactly are you located in the UK, as we we may be able to recommend some local resources to you for help.

Karyn
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
To be honest, I can't actually feel a break at all, but I think this is more because the area feels very swollen - completely different from the other leg.
When I first got him, the leg seemed slightly splayed out, but it is now much more splayed - almost sideways, and I was worried that it was a break or dislocation which was setting.
I could initially feel a little crunching as I examined it, and it did move back into place more, but then sprung back out into this splayed position. He gets around surprisingly well, but I wanted to help him in any way I could.
I am in Nottinghamshire.
I am a vet nurse (locum), but there are few local practices that will give a pigeon the time of day, except my close vet friend, who is unfortunately away for 2 weeks. We've managed to help many a wild bird together, but most vets just don't care.
Thanks again for you help.
Liz
 

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Phew, I'm not sure. I could speak to the vets I worked at or RSPCA to see about getting one done, but I can't see them being keen. I'll see what I can do!
Liz, as an alternative we could just go ahead an immobilize the whole leg (place in its proper position) this will set a possible break and treat for a splay at the same time, have a look at the photo in this link.

http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/f6/broken-leg-51008.html

You can start with gauze to wrap him then follow on top of the gauze with tape, as this will make taking off the wrapping much easier when needed. In any event, even if it's temporary, I think we best immobilize the leg in a proper position, and I will ask Pidgey (best guy on our forum for these things) to have a look in on your thread to see what he thinks.

Karyn
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes, please see what Pidgey says. I have lots of dressings here from when my critters get injuries, which would be perfect for such a job. My vet nurse friend is coming over tomorrow, so she could hold while I dress, if that's the best thing to do. No way I can attempt it on my own as he's so bright and wriggly! Just hope when I move it properly back into place there is no cracking sounds?
So this means placing the leg back underneath in a flexed/natural position close to the body and dress around the body/under the wing to hold it in place? At least then I can pop him in a smaller cage on a donut to rest and cater to his needs easier.
Some people think I'm mad helping a pigeon, but as far as I'm concerned, I'll help and creature that needs help. I've currently got an adult woody that was caught by a cat (thankfully no flesh wounds) but he's lost all his tail feathers and some wing feathers and can't fly. He's recuperating until he can fly again! Also got a common (don't know proper names!) pigeon that couldn't fly, but there is no obvious reason why. He is in perfect condition, so I'm wondering about poison. He's been with me about 5 months now, and if he jumps to try and flutter/fly, he ends up upside down, poor thing. I've made a ramp for him to get in and out of the hutch. He goes out and picks his seed and watched the other birds then climbs back in the upper deck and lies down. So sweet!
Any concerns about possible infection doing this on baby woody? I have baytril 2.5% injectable if necessary.
Thanks again, got everything crossed we can sort/help him.
Liz
 

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Liz, what I would do get the leg into a natural position and wrap it first with gauze cut down to 1" rolls, then would go over this with some adhesive tape to add strength and rigidity to the wrapping. I would them wrap the leg against the body as shown in the photo, Pidgey may be able to give you better instructions on this. For now do confine him to a small space with seeds/water within easy reach.

About the other two birds you mention, with the cat caught one we recommend always placing them on a 5 day course of antibiotics even if no obvious bites or scratched are seen, as a small puncture is easy enough to miss, with all their feathers and also if a cat's saliva gets on their feathers they can ingest this also well, both may lead to a Pasteurella infection which can be deadly to them. If this is a very recent one, in the last few days, I would recommend starting the little guy on the Baytril you have, if it's past a week and he is looking OK, then the danger has most likely past.

With the other one PPMV (pigeon paramyxovirus) can cause some lasting affects to the neurological system, as can some poisons so it's hard to say, glad he survived and you are still patiently working with him.

Karyn
 

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I'll just yank that post and paste it here:

It's possible to splint a broken leg on any bird with masking tape and it's pretty simple as well--that's what most vets do if it's not too complex of a fracture. You can take a look at this page and study the skeletal drawings to help you figure out the applicable anatomy:

http://people.eku.edu/ritchisong/skeleton.html

In any case, you can roll up a towel into a donut that the bird can settle into the middle of in such a way as to take any pressure off of the leg easily. Sometimes, you can bring them in the house and treat them like the Queen of Sheba with food and water right in front of them and they'll behave pretty well. About the only thing they'll stand up to do is poop and if you dutifully keep that cleaned up and then gently put them back down, they can learn to take it real easy and heal up just like that.

Otherwise, you sometimes have to clip the feathers of the leg closely with scissors and use masking tape to immobilize the leg as shown here:



...and it might come out looking like this:



The break on this bird was high enough on the tibiotarsus that I extended the tape up and over the back to help it immobilize it--otherwise, following the drawings above wouldn't have gone high enough to actually do the job. I clipped all the feathers short where the tape went, too.

Now, I don't know what y'all have in the UK that's like 2 or 3 inch wide masking tape here, but whatever it is, it would probably work as long as the sticky side is aggressive enough. I usually clip the bulk of the feathers around the area to get good adhesion. On this one, you'd clip enough of the belly and chest feathers to stick some on there as well.

Pidgey
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks you Karyn and Pidgey for the info... when my friend comes later, we'll have a go and hope we get it right and in a better position. He's such a bright little chap, I'll do what I can to help him.
I have a lot of dressings, and my friend will bring some dressing tape we use at the vets which is highly tacky and strong. It's what we use on all bandage/leg dressings on patients. I'll print everything off in preparation!
Regarding the other woody... I've had him almost 2-weeks now, and he is absolutely fine. The vet checked him thoroughly in case the cat had got to his skin, but, thankfully, it just got a mouthful of feathers. He is VERY bright and wanting to be off, but just can't fly. I have a huge cat run I build, so when I think the time is right I'll put him in there for a test flight. Without the cats!!
As for the one who can't fly, hopefully things will change, but we'll see. The last one I had in the same situation disappeared one day, but there was no sign of feathers and we rarely get cats around us, other than ours who are in the run! Not sure about this guy, but he seems plenty happy enough and is in excellent condition. Whatever happens, he's got a home for life if he needs it!
Thanks again guys... I'll let you know how we get on .
Liz
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, we managed to get the leg in position almost like the one in the photo, wrapped the dressing around the body under the wings an taped it in place. The poor little guy started mouth breathing though and seemed to get quite stressed, which really concerned me at one point. He settled pretty quickly afterwards in his towel donut in a smaller cage.
How long would the dressing need to be in place for?
I hope we've done it properly... I'll try to take a photo tomorrow and post it. But it is in a MUCH better position that how it started splayed outwards.
HATED seeing him mouth breathe though...
Fingers crossed this help him...
Liz
 

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Liz, glad to hear you managed to get things taped up and in a much better position. You are going to want to keep it like this for about 2 weeks, Pidgey may fine tune this, but roughly this amount of time. Also glad, although stressed, he got through all the handling OK, and settled back down pretty quickly .

Will wait for your photos, good job,

Karyn
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Unfortunately, the dressing has moved a bit, and his leg is starting to aim outwards again. Because he got stressed and started mouth breathing, we had to finish what we were doing quickly, so it wasn't ideal.
I've no option than to do it again. Will this guy be ok with the stress? I HATED seeing him start to mouth breathe, but I'm caught with wanting to get the leg in the best position for him... I can't leave it like that for his sake. Any ideas for reducing stress?
Thanks in advance,
Liz
 

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The stress is always a problem with woodies although some handle it better than others.
They do tend to mouth breath but if kept in dark recover quickly.

You may have already tried but keeping his head covered with a towel or suchlike often helps.

I have tried Bachs Rescue Remedy drops before. The one with a squeezer makes it easy to put a drop in their mouth and this can calm them. Maybe worth a try but I expect he'll cope ok just being covered.

Good luck

Janet
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, 2 days ago I did a slight different approach with this guy and his leg... I basically put a little masking tape around his leg first, and then I wrapped some tacky/material veterinary tape around the covered leg and gently moved/pulled his leg into position as in the photos. I then wrapped the tape over his back, under his wings, and covered the leg again to strengthen and hold the leg in position. 2-days later and it is still in a flexed position tucked nicely underneath him. I know I will have to trim the sticky tape away carefully in a few weeks, but I figured this would hold the best, and it seems to be doing a good job!
He's eating on his own now, and manoeuvres around on his donut bed. I'll leave it a few weeks then remove the tape to check hi leg is stable. He is moving the claws/feet on the damaged foot, so I've got everything crossed for him. And he did't get stressed much either, which I was relieved about. I did it on my own, too, and apart from a few head bobs, he sat still, bless him!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
A little update... managed to get woody's leg all fixed so he was walking brilliantly, apart from a little limp. He was eating really well and drinking, and went out this morning to find him dead... feel quite upset... he was sat in his usual position under the ramp of the hutch, and when I put the seed in I noticed he didn't move. Sadly, and for a reason I don't know, he'd died through the night. He was bright as anything yesterday. Wondering if there was something underlying... I guess I'll never know.
Least he wasn't left at the edge of the road to starve to death or get squashed by a car...still, massive shame after all the work getting his leg better.
Liz
 
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