Raccoon Attacks are not Good for Ducks
[Scene: Sunday morning. Scared, worried mom on the phone.]
“Dr. Springer, I’m sorry to bother you on Sunday, but Bo-Etta’s hurt real bad. That raccoon got her and it doesn’t look good,” said Jenn, Bo-Etta’s concerned mom.
I could hear the edge of controlled panic in Jenn’s voice. She is not a person to panic or give up. Yet I was worried this might be Bo-Etta’s last day on Earth. Raccoon attacks are no laughing matter; it’s a miracle the little duck survived at all. Well, a miracle named Jenn.
I remembered her love for any and all of her pets (even all the unexpected baby hedgehogs). Bo-Etta was her gentle, sweet white duck. She and her mate lived in Jenn’s yard. The ducks enjoyed picking at worms and bugs in the yard, all the chow they wanted, a fresh clean duck pool every evening, and the company of two awesome chickens and a miniature poodle.
Each evening right before sunset, the ducks waddled over to their hut, up their duck ramp, and into the pool. Then Jenn closed the door for the night to keep them safe from predators, especially the marauding raccoons. Until Saturday night.
“The raccoons changed their schedule. They showed up five minutes early,” said the injured duck’s mom. “He had her by her thigh. I had to wrestle her away from the raccoon. I thought she was going to die. This morning she can’t walk and there’s lots of blood. Can you come over?”
Bo-Etta the Duck’s Injuries
Bo-Etta lay on soft green grass in front of a pile of corn and lettuce and duck feed. Her orange bill pushed as much corn out of her reach as it took in as she gobbled food.
“She’s eating. That’s a sign she’s not in shock or septic,” I said.
Bo-Etta’s right thigh was swollen and after we cleaned some crusted blood away, she had 2 puncture holes in her thigh. She was swollen and bruised, but not broken. Her internal organs escaped damage. She seemed playful and hungry.
“She’s got a chance.”
We gave Bo-Etta antibiotics and painkillers. We cleaned her wounds. She had acupuncture treatments designed to decrease pain and speed healing.
“She cannot move her leg. If we see improvement in nerve function within 72 hours, then we should continue treatment. If not, then…” I said.
Jenn pointed out,”That drake keeps bothering her. I think I’m going to keep her inside at night.”
As Jenn and I set Bo-Etta in her pond 68 hours later, she touched her right webbed foot to the bottom of the kiddie pool duck pond. She kicked off and waved her right leg in the water 3 times as she paddled with her left leg.
“Did you see that?” asked Jenn. “Did I just imagine that?”
“I saw it too, she’s getting better.”
Against great odds, Be-Etta fully recovered from her raccoon misadventure. She and her drake are now retired to The Dancing Goat Farm, far out of the reach of the raccoon’s schemes.