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Spraddle Leg, Splayed Leg, Sprawls
Splay Leg in Ducklings Overview
Splay leg, also known as spraddle leg, is a type of leg deformity that is usually seen in young, newly hatched ducklings. It is most commonly caused by raising ducklings on a ground surface that does not provide adequate traction, however it can also be the result of problems during incubation, and less commonly genetics. The condition is characterized by the legs splaying outward or laterally from underneath the duckling's body. One or both legs might be affected, and can range in severity from mild to severe. The onset of the clinical signs of splay leg might take a couple of weeks until it becomes obvious. However, for a positive prognosis, intervening with early, prompt treatment is needed.
Ducklings with splay leg usually respond pretty well to corrective orthopedic techniques and physical therapy. There are a wide range of orthopedic techniques described for use in ducklings with splay leg, made from a variety materials. The main goal of any of these methods is to help position the duckling's legs in the position that they should normally be, ensuring there are the correct distance apart and are not too tight as to restrict blood circulation to the leg, nor too loose so that it is ineffective.
A orthopedic technique in which the duckling's legs are tethered to one another, in a figure-of-eight pattern or with a piece of material around each leg and a short length between each leg. This can be accomplished through the use of various materials, including band-aids, fuzzy pipe cleaners (like that you find in an arts and craft store), Vetwrap, strips of adhesive tape, etc. The device will need to be adjusted on a daily basis, during which, the duckling should be monitored closely.
An alternative orthopedic device that uses a foam block with holes cut at the appropriate distance apart for the legs.
Depending on the severity of the condition, the duckling may not be able to easily access feed and water, and therefore will need to be provided easy access to these resources.