Part 2: How Did 2 Ducks End Up Living In A Townhouse?
Originally published on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019
Once my husband and I arrived at the 24-hour animal hospital with our charge that evening, we were asked if we were dropping off injured wildlife. Unfortunately the vet staff would not be able to give us the status of the duck once he was turned over to them… wink, wink. Hint taken. No, he is our pet. We were shown to an exam room, and once we were alone, I assured my husband we were just making sure the duck got medical attention. We used the wait time to christen him appropriately for their records. Q was named after the mischievous Star Trek character; not as a reference the word “quack.” Muscovies are actually quackless ducks. ?
After the emergency veterinarian on duty joined us in the exam room, and the circumstances were explained to him around Q’s puzzling condition, we were told he would not be able to determine what was ailing the little duck since our DVM was not an avian/exotics vet. It could be poisoning, bacterial/viral/parasitic infection, something congenital, neurological, or broken bones. But euthanization was brought up as a standard option for this type of case. Odd. Wouldn’t it make sense to find out what is wrong before the little guy is irreversibly euthanized? Q was not in distress and was alert. He was hydrated now, and had even eaten a good amount of dried corn with wheat and milo for dinner. It seemed like he just couldn’t get up. Luckily, he could be seen by an avian expert the next day if we were willing to come back.
That Friday, November 17th, Q was seen by the hospital’s avian expert, and had X-Rays and blood work done. It was determined he had two pelvic fractures, as well as a cracked vertebra. Fortunately, he was not paralyzed. His digestive tract was fully functioning too (his medical records noted “good vent tone” which had to be explained to me since I thought they might be listening for something musical ?). Cage rest was prescribed along with an anti-inflammatory for pain management. His broken bones were caused by blunt trauma, and did not appear to be the result of an animal attack. Maybe a car hit him, or a bicycle ran over him?
We would not be required to have a permit to keep Q in our home, but the avian vet did make me aware that Q could not be released back out into the wild even if he were to fully recover. Once a Muscovy is removed from the wild, Florida Fish and Wildlife regulations do not allow you to return the duck to its home because Muscovies are considered an invasive species in our state. I can’t say I agree with the law, but it is the law. The hospital normally has no place for these ducks to go if they are brought in, so they are typically euthanized. I asked our new vet to call me if they ended up with another Muscovy who would be facing that situation. Muscovies are highly social and Q would benefit from having someone around who spoke his language.
My husband was at work while Q and I were at this second vet visit. He still thought I would rehab Q for a few weeks, and return the duck to the park where he came from. Boy, was he in for a surprise! Later that evening, I broke the news.
Wife: “Q is going to be with us for a while.”
Husband: “What does that mean exactly?”
Wife: “Q will need to be a permanent family member.” <without skipping a beat> “I know you have always wanted a dog, so now is the time to get one.” ?