Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lots of pictures and considerations...

We are having to consider some hard things related to our little flock. Both of Keelyn's femurs are broken (due mainly to low calcium levels - she has experienced no major trauma). But surgery to pin them is not likely an option because of the low calcium (her bones are simply too weak.) So we are left with very difficult decisions...

put her to sleep OR try and rehab her ourselves OR find a rescue center that can rehab her

After doing some research, MamaDuck found out that those sanctuaries/rehab centers that even take pet ducks, are either so full of rescues that they can’t take any and/or they don’t take lame ducks. There is also the factor of, if we surrender Keelyn to a rehab center, we won’t get her back.

Things to consider
- GrmaDuck usually work 45-55 hours a week, which means that it is a daily challenge for her to make the time to care for and socialize with our little flock, but she manages and it is a delight. BUT adding rehab, will (if we do this right so that we can better manage her pain and increase her potential of a decent outcome) require more frequent care and more time with her and the flock.
- Only GrmaDuck and MamaDuck can work with Keelyn. We don't have anyone else that is comfortable with this. We do have a couple of people who can duck sit healthy ducks, but not injured or sick ducks.
- MamaDuck now lives 25 min away, and starts full-time work in a couple of months. She will always be around and be MamaDuck of the flock, just not every day.
- Happy or not, Keelyn is in pain.
- We wonder if she will ever be able to run and chase bugs again (which was her FAVORITE thing to do)
- We love her so very much. We wish we had a sign that their calcium was so low, but the eggs were fine, everyone was happy, we just couldn't have known before now. Her broken legs are breaking our hearts.
- We don't want to put her down. We selfishly want to keep her with us for all of her life.
- We are trying to be realistic. We are trying to think about what is best overall.
- We aren’t sure that we have the time or energy or money resources to give her the best rehab possible.
- It is more than, is Keelyn capable of being happy. It is, can we keep her happy, and manage her pain level well for months, and likely for years?

As of now, we are finding ways to keep her happy and as comfortable as possible. We even figured out how to keep her immobile while also with the rest of the flock in the aviary. Other than when she is trying to move, she doesn’t seem to be in great amounts of pain. We know that she has to be hurting; you can’t break both your femurs like that and not be in pain. But we are managing her meds to keep her comfortable and using water therapy as often as we can to relieve the pressure and weight off her legs. We have already started adding vitamins to their water which has calcium plus D (Vitamin D helps the body actually absorb the calcium) to help with her bones, and to prevent future issues with the other ducks.

Keelyn is and always has been very energetic, it is the reason we picked her name, Keelyn means "lively", this means that she is already trying to be adventurous and move more than we would like her to. This can create more problems as she is trying to heal.

If we continue down this road of rehab, it is going to be a very long, long hard road. We know that she will never be the same, and will most likely always be mostly lame. This is harder than we can put into words.

FOLLOW UP NOTE ADDED JUNE 2011: We decided "rehab" her ourselves. It has been a BIG challenge and has impacted every area of our life with the frequent time commitment required, but we are seeing progress and are hopeful that despite some permanent nerve damage in one leg she will walk again (she will likely never run again but walking is looking probable). Of course we will forever supplement their diet to counter the effects of the minerals in our ground and water that limit calcium absorption.

Now, for some pictures.

Family breakfast around Keelyn

Tub (Water therapy) time...Darrick sneaking some of Keelyn's treats :P

Kouta - "My Love!...My Darling!"
Keelyn - "Babe, you ate my get no love right now."

Time to dry off and preen in the sun on the towel.

This is the only way she can move around right now, she pushes herself up to get her legs comfortable.

"I don't like this...but since you're holding my bill, I'll tolerate it."
We have to roll her over to dry her belly off since she can't reach that one spot.

You can see, her right leg (the older less severe break) she can sort of move if it doesn't have weight on it.  But her left leg (the more recent, and worse break) has nerve damage, she can move her foot, but not her leg.

"I'm tired Mama, hold my head for me"  <3

"Ahh...Back in the aviary with everybody, in my new set up, so I can see and talk to everyone, but I can still rest, and not worry about those silly boys getting too close."

~MamaDuck and GrmaDuck


Anonymous said...

Depending upon your state, I may be able to help with their care when you need a break. I can ducky sit as I have 2 disabled ducks that I care for already. If you are not far from this vet, she has reasonable fees and has several ducks and chickens in her practice. She has done surgery on our two disabled ducks and is a gem:

Are you on facebook and have you joined any pet duck yahoo groups? When our duck needed emergency help and I only had $100, our ducky friends from these groups called in donations directly to the clinic until there was enough money to care for him at the emergency vet.

Here is where you can find me on facebook:

Megan said...

We actually don't live close enough for that to be a possibility. And while it would be very kind and generous for people to donate for Keelyn, we feel that she is our responsibility to take care of.