Wildlife Case Report: Pekin Duck

October 31, 2016

by Thomas N. Tully, Jr., DVM, MS, DABVP (Avian Practice), DECZM (Avian); Louisiana State University – School of Veterinary Medicine Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences Baton Rouge, LA USA

The patient

 duck kiddie pool Joe Roberts
Photo credit: Joe Roberts

1.5-year-old, 3.48 kg, female Pekin duck (Anus platyrhynchos domestica)

Presenting problem

The duck was presented with a 4-day history of rear limb paresis. Initially the condition was observed when the duck was unable to walk after its cage door was opened and using only its wings to move. The duck was found as a duckling and was raised for release in a nearby pond.


A plastic children’s wading pool with the wire cage provided an aquatic environment for the bird to swim.


Cat food (dry kibble) was the primary diet for the 2 ducks at this facility, although there were no cats owned by the rehabilitator.

Medical history

No other disease problems had been observed by the owner prior to the ambulatory problem. The rehabilitator treated the bird with a Chinese herbal supplement (unknown manufacturer and contents) 2 day prior to presentation without any effect. There was no known past or current history of this bird being traumatized, injured, or attacked by a predator. Also the rehabilitator was not aware of any application of pesticide, herbicide, or contact with material containing heavy metal in or around the bird’s environment.

Physical exam findings

On the external physical examination the patient was quiet, alert, and responsive. Abnormalities noted included, bilateral “angel wing”, pale mucous membranes, bilateral rear limb paresis, a grade II pododermatitis lesion on the right foot, and attempts to move using only its wings. No other external problems were observed during the physical examination process.