Parasites Or Toxins Ground A Mallard Duck

mallard duck in cage and in pondThe following story was shared with us by the Florida Wildlife Hospital.

On September 13, our facility received a female, adult mallard duck. The patient was observed in someone’s back yard unable to fly. Upon admission the 744 gram (about 1.6 pound) duck appeared alert but debilitated. She was moderately dehydrated, thin, and had pale mucous membranes. We were unable to palpate any external injuries, but the patient had a foul odor emitting from the oral cavity and loose, watery stool. Given our initial findings we suspected a toxin exposure or heavy parasite load.

She was given oral electrolytes to help flush the system of any potential toxins and to help correct her hydration status. Additionally, she was given activated charcoal and several nutritional supplements. Finally we placed the patient in a padded kennel with supplemental heat and offered a small dish of greens, duck chow, and live mealworms.

side x-ray of mallard duck x-ray of mallard duckThe following day our patient was much more alert. The odor from the oral cavity was less noticeable and her feces were more normal. She was allowed a short swim in a shallow tub while we cleaned her kennel. After returning the duck to her kennel, she immediately began eating.

We continued the nutritional supplements for three more days and slowly increased the amount of food we offered. On September 16, we weighed the patient again and were surprised to see that she had lost weight, even eating as well as she was. We decided to begin gavage-feeding 20cc of EmerAid Intensive Care Omnivore twice a day while continuing to free-feed a mixture of mealworms, greens, and duck chow. We weighed the patient again in 48 hours and were pleased to see a weight gain. We continued to gavage-feed EmerAid until September 25 after which we discontinued it. For the next several days we closely monitored her food consumption and weight progression.

On October 11, the patient had gained almost 100 grams and was BAR (bright, alert, and responsive) and healthy. She was evaluated for release and was happy to return home to her pond later that day.