Maomao is a female Pekin duck who was a long-term resident at the Drunken Moon Lake, located in National Taiwan University. A student was walking to class one morning, and noticed the little duck was walking with a limp to her step. This student knew that the University had a veterinary teaching hospital nearby, and so they scooped up the struggling duck in their arms brought her to the National Taiwan University Veterinary Hospital (NTUVH). From the first moment the little duck arrived at the hospital, the exotic animal veterinary team just fell in love with her—especially Dr. Wenlin Wang, a veterinary student in her final year of courses. She and the other members of the veterinary team decided to name the duck ‘Maomao’.
In order to find out what exactly was wrong with Maomao, the team performed a physical exam on the duck. They examined Maomao’s feet and legs in order to determine the source of the pain. They discovered that the duck had been limping due to the pain caused by a moderate to severe case of Bumblefoot
. Maomao had a 2 cm x 2 cm ulceration on the bottom of her left foot pad.
Maomao's Bumblefoot Treatment
To treat the Bumblefoot, the veterinary team performed debridement surgery on Maomao’s foot, in order to remove the necrotic – or dead – tissue. This process is essential for preparing the wound bed to promote quicker and more efficient healing. Following the surgery, they applied medical manuka honey dressing directly to her lesion and bandaged it using 2-3 pieces of gauze, vet wrap, and a dough-nut shaped pad.
Maomao's Special Orthopedic Shoes
The material used for the pads was the foam puzzle floor mats, also known as safety bumping puzzle. It actually is of great value for orthopedic purposes for birds for the closed cell EVA foam is lightweight, durable, and waterproof. They used one of the mats and cut out small pieces that were custom-sized to fit the shape of Maomao’s duck feet---with a hole cut in the middle of the pad, in the location of the lesion. The purpose of this special bandage was to help relieve pressure on the lesion and to help promote blood circulation in that area of Maomao’s foot---for this would help the wound heal faster.
The Importance of Wound Management
Conducting proper bandage maintenance is essential for effective healing of Bumblefoot wounds in birds. The purpose is to prevent bacteria and other harmful foreign invaders out of the wound. While healing, the area is very susceptible to contamination and reinfection. This aspect of Bumblefoot can be challenging, especially for ducks---since they tend to be rather messy and enjoy spending most of their time in or splashing around in the water.
In order to ensure that Maomao’s foot remained clean and dry during her recovery, the veterinarians kept her hospitalized in their exotic animal patients recovery ward over the course of the next two months. Maomao received daily bandage changes and plenty of loving care and attention from all members of the hospital staff, especially from the veterinarians! Finally, after two months of diligent management of Maomao’s lesion, the wound healed completely----she had a full recovery!
About Dr. Wenlin Wang
Dr. Wenlin Wang is in her last two months as a veterinary student at the National Taiwan University Veterinary Hospital (NTUVH). Upon graduating, she will begin her residency as an exotic and wildlife veterinarian at NTUVH---in pursuant of her desire to become a Veterinary Specialist in Exotic and Avian Medicine. Follow her to keep up with all her veterinary adventures on Instagram! @dr.wenlin
About National Taiwan University Veterinary Hospital
The National Taiwan University Veterinary Hospital (NTUVH) is a veterinary teaching hospital and referral center located in Taipei City in Taiwan. It provides veterinary medical services to the public as well as educational training for senior veterinary students of National Taiwan University. It was first instituted in 1955 and today is regarded as one of the most advanced veterinary hospitals in Southeast Asia.