Healing a Fractured Bird Leg: How to Make a Splint

Healing a Fractured Bird Leg: How to Make a Splint
Image: i.telegraph.co.uk

Birds are very sensitive and complex animals. Their legs are particularly fragile, and they can fracture fairly easily from a hit or a bad fall. In this AnimalWised article we will share the first aid steps you should take to help a bird that has suffered a fracture, since it is often difficult to find an emergency vet that can help you.

If you're a bird owner or breeder, it is very important for you to know how to treat various emergency and health problems that can come up to and thus prevent further damage. Keep reading to learn all about healing a fractured bird leg and how to make a splint for birds.

Identify the type of fracture

There are different causes that can cause a leg fracture in a bird. The most common causes usually come down to a hit or a bad fall, although sometimes a young chick might have a deformity or leg condition due not having enough space in the nest.

The best thing to do in order to heal a fractured bird leg would be to go to a vet as soon as possible, as they would be able to recognize and identify the fracture type and tell you how it should be treated. Not going to the specialist can sometimes lead to the loss of the leg.

If your bird's leg is broken but you can't take it to a specialist immediately, you should first identify the source of the fracture:

  • A genetic disease; the bird was born with this deformity.
  • Trauma; a hit, a bad fall.
  • Infectious disease; smallpox, Marek's disease, salmonellosis, gout, etc.
  • Presence of fungi on the leg.
  • Poisoning.

Fractures of the tibia and fibula are the most common and easiest to mend, as they are in the middle of the bird's leg. Femur fractures, meanwhile, are very complicated to heal at home, and even more so with the animal being so small.

Before healing a bird's fractured leg

Before starting the process, it is really important that you put your bird in quarantine, especially if it could have a disease or some type of fungus. If you think this might be the problem, get hold of some latex gloves to avoid spreading the disease while you work.

If your bird is unable to move, place it in a nest or somewhere it feels safe and comfortable and, if necessary, give it some food and water until it recovers more.

Pick up your bird and wash its legs with cold water and disinfectant, making sure it doesn't harm itself. Before putting the bird's fractured leg in an emergency splint, you should identify what type of fracture it is:

  • Poorly positioned leg: If the leg is healthy and displays no swelling or signs of fracture, it could arise from a poor position in the nest or even growth problems.
  • Open fracture: In this case you'll notice that the bone sticks outwards. Open fractures are very serious because they require surgery and a quick suture within 8 hours of the blow occurring. If not, the leg can become gangrenous and the problem may become irreparable.
  • Closed fracture: In this case, you won't see the bone sticking through the leg's skin, but you will still notice that it is broken. You need to be very careful in order to treat it properly.

How to make a splint for a bird's leg: Step by step guide

  1. Ask someone to help you restrain your bird while you carry out the entire process; it is normal for an injured bird to feel nervous and be restless. Remember that you need to be very delicate and careful.

  2. Apply povidone-iodine - Betadine or similar - to prevent a possible infection.

  3. Get hold of what is going to be the bird's splint. You can use a drinking straw split in half, some cardboard, a stick, etc.

  4. Being very careful, try to align the bird's bones so that they regain their original position. It is a very complicated task, and you can seriously worsen the problem if you're rough or you place it incorrectly. If you don't think you can manage it, skip the following steps and take it to the specialist as soon as possible.

  5. Once you feel the fractured leg is in a correct position, adjust the splint. A splint for a bird's leg should always be the exact length of the leg; it can't stick out. Wrap it in a pain-free bandage as found in any pharmacy. This type of bandage only hooks onto itself, and not onto the animal's skin. It's important not to cut off the animal's circulation by excessively adjusting it, but you also need to ensure that the splint isn't loose.

  6. Once the process is finished, remove the sticks from the cage and make the bird a comfortable place where it doesn't move the fractured leg.

  7. Go to the vet as soon as possible so that they can examine the injury and carry out the required treatment. They'll advise you on the specific course of antibiotics and painkillers within one week.

This is our advice for healing a fractured bird leg by making a splint. Do you have any tips? Tell us in the comments section!

How to adjust a poorly positioned leg

Poorly positioned legs need to be fixed as soon as possible to avoid more serious problems. For this, it is crucial that you go to a vet as soon as you can.

Treatments, in these cases, are usually very original, since they aren?t generally related to broken legs. Rather, they come down to poor positioning that ends up in a deformity of the leg?s natural position. It might also be caused by malnutrition, twisting the leg or a severe trauma.

We?ll leave you with these fantastic explanatory images from misamigaslaspalomas.com who have done an excellent job on this bird. Congratulations from all of us at Animal Wised!

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Healing a Fractured Bird Leg: How to Make a Splint, we recommend you visit our First aid category.