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Help! Has anyone dealt with a broken leg in a larger bird?

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Help! Has anyone dealt with a broken leg in a larger bird?

Postby Eew » Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:54 am

Hello, I have a 25 yr old yellownape amazon parrot. About 10 years ago he fell and broke his leg when it hit the lip of his cage. After a couple surgeries, the break was eventually repaired by a metal plate in his leg. He started having trouble weight bearing About a week ago so we took him back to the vet. He was seen by the same doctor that had did the surgery. Imaging of his leg was done and it turns out his bone in his leg is deteriorating again. While the leg hasn’t fractured again yet, it will soon. It seems like the most likely reason is either infection or cancer. We are waiting for a test to confirm the diagnosis. That leaves our options with amputation of the leg or euthanasia. The leg is broken at his femur so it will be a full amputation if that is the route we choose.

I have two questions:
1. Has anyone here had a larger bodied parrot/bird that has broken their leg? If so, did you amputate or put the bird down?
2. If you amputated, how is your birds quality of life? Is the bird having trouble having a good life? Would you do it again? Do you regret your decision?

I am working with a qualified avian vet. I am in the process of getting second and third opinions from other vets. What I am looking for here is first hand experience with what I am going through!! I am hoping to get information as well from people who have been in the same place I am. I am trying to make an informed decision that is best for the bird. Currently he’s doing pretty well but I also am under no illusions that this is a bad situation.
Eew
Parakeet
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 1
Number of Birds Owned: 2
Types of Birds Owned: Cockatiel and yellow nape amazon
Flight: No

Re: Help! Has anyone dealt with a broken leg in a larger bird?

Postby Pajarita » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:58 am

Hi, Eew, welcome to the forum and I am so sorry we have to meet under these sad circumstances. Now, I've had several birds with only one leg and, although none were the size of an amazon, I really do not think it makes a difference. The one-legged birds I've had did not really seem to have a diminished quality of life at all. They could fly, climb, perch, eat, sleep, had mates, etc so, in reality, the only thing they could not do was walk but it did not seem to bother them much. Which makes sense if you think about it because, after all, walking is the only mode of transportation for bipeds but, for birds, it's flying and they can still do that even if they have no legs at all.

I did have an amazon that had both legs broken when she was young (possibly when she was a baby). One leg had fused by itself. It had not knitted correctly (the leg was bowed and shorter than the other) but it was perfectly functional. On the other one, the bone had never healed and was still separated completely so even though the injury had happened many years before she came to me, I had surgery done on it (one end of the bone was actually poking her leg from the inside). They did put a steel rod in her leg as well as an external fixator AND a cast - all temporary and taken out once the bone healed (first the cast, then the fixator and last the rod). But, years later, she got cancer in both her legs (which I could not help but suspect was, somehow, caused by the surgery/treatment) and as she had never actually flown at all, this was a big problem. She was also not really old at the time (she was 25) but she had not had a good life prior coming to me so she was not very strong from a physical point of view (liver and kidneys compromised), she was in a lot of pain (and losing weight very rapidly) and the vet could not guarantee the cancer had not spread to other bones (it was a VERY aggressive type of cancer) so I decided to put her down. But this doesn't seem to be the case for your bird so, although you are not really asking for anybody's opinion, I am going to go out on a limb and offer it anyway: don't put him down. He can have a perfectly good life with only one leg... I had a cockatiel that was blind and paralyzed and she still managed to eat, drink, poop and even have a mate and lived a healthy life for years like this. Animals are not like people. They don't dwell on handicaps and neither them nor their companions/mates see themselves or others as 'defective' or 'incomplete'. They just make lemonade out of lemons, keep on going and live happy lives even when they need to compensate for a lack. In his case, it would just be a matter of setting up his cage so he doesn't miss any activity just because he now has only one leg - not hard at all.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can help with.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 15223
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes


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