I have two white pekin ducks. EArlier today they both were fine, now one appears to be drunk. It is walking fine but when it tries to preen it stumbles around like it is drunk. Can anybody help? They are not to old, around 6 months.
Greetings, I am Dr. Pat. I have worked with birds for many years. I will do my best to help you.The first thing I would worry about is nutrition--ducklings need to be on waterfowl-specific starter; chick feed is in adequate, leads to bone and joint deformities, and a "drunk" walking gait.There can be infections and toxic exposures that cause a similar appearance.You are going to need local help on this, and a scientific and solid diagnosis to find safe and effective treatment.You can examine the birds thoroughly again, including opening the mouth and having a good look in there for mucus, redness, masses or anything else unusual. You can take the temperature gently with a rectal thermometer. Anything above 105F/40C is significant. Palpate the tummy for pain, fluid, lumps or anything else. Check all the joints for swelling, pain, and mobility. Move the birds indoors to a pen, box or carrier with soft towels or hay in the bottom, no perch, and food and water in low bowls that can be reached easily. Do not try to force food or water. You can offer grapes, melon, greens in addition to normal food. I know it is expensive, but you may not have many home options, because the first thing you need a vet for is to find out what is going on. Treatment is only as good as the diagnosis. If you call around, you may find a vet to work within your means. We certainly try to do our best in my clinic.You should see an avian/poultry-experienced veterinarian ASAP for complete examination, diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Check this link for members of AAV in your area or call your regular vet and see who they recommend; ask if they really have worked with birds a lot and especially inquire as to poultry experience. You can also check here for an unofficial list.The expense for this is going to be a lot less than inefficient, ineffective, dangerous treatments, guesswork, and loss of the flock.If these were my patients, I would start with complete fecal analysis and direct smear, for multiple parasites; bacterial culture and sensitivity of the feces and choana. Depending on the case I might do a fungal culture. Routine blood work is necessary to rule out other issues. I would very likely order a number of DNA tests for duck viruses as well. Generally I start them out on antibiotics as indicated by the tests (I use a lot of human antibiotics that are injectable). Pet/feed store medications and home remedies are harmful, ineffective, immuno-suppressive, and make them much worse and may interfere with the veterinarian's diagnosis and treatment. Do not use them.They should be on a high quality pelleted diet with extra greens/pasturage. Overcrowding, cleanliness, proper water, environmental temperature, humidity, ventilation, photoperiod, and toxic exposures should be addressed. You need to check for fly and mosquito access, as they can carry certain diseases, and check for external parasites. Mites, lice and fleas (in some areas, ticks) can contribute to over-all health issues, anemia, and disease transmission. They may need injectable antibiotics, calcium and many other medications. Act quickly and good luck.
25 years as avian-only veterinarian