IT was all hands on duck when an unusual patient waddled into Hale Veterinary Group’s waiting room because he was feeling a bit beaky.
Pablo, the Indian Runner duck, was feeling fowl because he was suffering from sore feet, but the Hale veterinary team were quick to quack the case and diagnose a bacterial infection.
Pablo’s eagle-eyed owner, Jessica Lowman, had spotted something wasn’t quite right with her feathered friend’s webbed feet. Rather than ducking the issue, she booked him in to see vet Lynsey Ellis at Hale Vets in Union Street, Melksham.
Jessica, who lives in Melksham and has owned Pablo since he hatched last June, said, “I check my ducks over carefully once a week to make sure they are healthy. If they do have any problems, it means I spot them early on and can get them the right help straightaway. I noticed Pablo had lumps on his feet and thought it would be a good idea to get him checked out by a vet, because some foot diseases can be fatal if they’re not treated quickly.”
At Hale Vets, Lynsey confirmed Jessica’s suspicion that Pablo was suffering from a condition called bumblefoot, which commonly affects feathered species.
Lynsey said, “Pablo had calluses on both feet, but luckily the disease was quite mild. It was helpful that Jessica spotted the bumblefoot early, before it took hold, and she did the right thing by bringing him in to see us. If left untreated it can spread to the bone and is much harder to resolve.
“I treated Pablo’s feet, then applied a dressing because the most important thing was to take pressure off the sore areas to allow them to heal and settle down.
“I wrapped his feet in soft padding, then put a bandage over the top – it looked a bit like he was wearing welly boots! I then added a waterproof layer to keep Pablo’s feet dry until they had healed.”
Pablo was sent home with some medication and he needed to make several trips to see Lynsey and have his feet redressed. He quickly became a popular patient with everyone at Hale Vets.
Lynsey said: “Pablo was the perfect patient and he didn’t get his feathers in a flap at all. He is one of the more unusual pets we’ve seen recently, but he was very well behaved and has such a lovely character.”
Owner Jessica reports that on Pablo’s last visit to Hale he was given a clean bill of health, and he’s back in the duck pond without his fancy footwear.
She said: “His feet have healed up well. Lynsey and the team at Hale did a brilliant job and knew exactly how to make Pablo better. I can’t fault how they looked after him.”
Jessica has four other ducks at home, including another Indian Runner like Pablo, two call ducks and an Aylesbury duck, and she said they make quacking good pets.
She said: “I love ducks because they have such great personalities, and it is a lot of fun to own them. Pablo is especially friendly and he loves cuddles. Like any pet, though, you do need to look after them properly to make sure they stay healthy and happy.”
The cost of Pablo’s treatment will, of course, be put on his bill.