Wild Ducks Get Help During Avian Botulism Outbreak

collage of ducks arriving at rescueThis story was shared by Gold Country Wildlife Rescue in Auburn, California.

During the month of September 2018. Gold Country Wildlife Rescue was asked to help out Nevada Department of Wildlife with an outbreak of avian botulism in Truckee Meadows and Fallon, a valley and a city respectively in northern Nevada. A local news station posted an article describing what causes this type of disease outbreak.

Over the course of about a month and a half, Gold Country received approximately 260 ducks of different species, mainly Northern shovelers and green-winged teal, that were suffering from botulism. They were weak, unable to fly, swim, or eat. There are no medications that can be given to birds with botulism; the only treatment is supportive care.

sick ducks propped up on towelsWe tube-fed these ducks approximately four times a day a mixture of EmerAid Intensive Care Omnivore and a duck food. Because they were unable to walk or move much, we placed all the ducks on towel “donuts” to support them. We also changed out their bedding with every feeding to help them with regaining their waterproofing.

As they started to heal and could move, they spent time being monitored in a pool. Once they began eating on their own and regained their ability to fly, they were released.

Rehabbing these ducks took many long hours, many volunteers and staff, and a lot of EmerAid. We took video of a release, and it’s a sight to behold.