I had a really busy Tuesday planned but all that changed when I got an early call about a young foster pigeon that was fine the night before and unable to walk in the morning. I juggled some stuff and went over to pick up Duke and get him to an avian vet. While transporting broke-leg Duke from Newark to Oakland, I got an e-mail from SFACC about a broke-leg baby king pigeon they had that needed immediate care.
I e-mailed to Mickaboo volunteers in the SF area and Mike, as he so often does, agreed to pick up the pigeon and get her to an avian vet. Once there, the staff named the 5-week old Missy.
The next day, 6/30, Missy needed another ride- this time from the vet to my house where she would convalesce with Duke, who had a broken femur. MickaCoo volunteer (and stray king pigeon rescuer) Jennifer and her daughter Isabella (both in really cute red shoes) picked up Missy and her meds and delivered her to me.
Vet staff had told me that Missy was "very skittish" and "flapping around a lot" and the same was true when she arrived- she was flapping in the box.
I could see that her "good" leg, the one left unbandaged, was swollen and discolored.
Her "bad" leg, the broken one, was bandaged up in a big foam cast-type wrap and it made her awkward and shifted a lot of her weight on to the unbandaged leg which, once I looked at it, I suspected was also broken. She had two broken legs and one was in a big, unwieldy cast. And she had been sent home in a cardboard box with no towel for cushioning- just the thin layer of straw that she'd been put on the day before. Poor Missy must have suffered a lot in the box on both those rides all for want of a towel that would have absorbed the shocks and bumps a little bit. Note to shelter and vet staff- please cushion the transport box/carrier with a towel when the occupant is injured. And note to volunteers- please check to see that they have.
I noticed that when I turned her over to better see her legs and what was going on, she relaxed a bit- she was finally getting a little pain relief. She felt so much better without having all her weight on the UN-immobilized broken leg and, she was so exhausted from being in so much pain, that she promptly went to sleep. For hours. I carried her around in one arm and tried to go about the rest of my business with the other. I cradled her so long, my arm went to sleep. When I would bang a door shut or type too loudly, she'd wake up, open one eye, check to see what the hell was going on, and then go right back to sleep.
Finally, I rigged up a sling for her to nap, on her back, in. I needed to figure out something that would get us through to a vet appointment the next day. Now I know that I should have immobilized her broken tibia taursus (and the the joints above and below the break) but I was afraid to fool with it and so hoped to keep her off the leg for the 20 hours till her appointment.
The sling worked for awhile but I needed a better solution and so propped her up on her back in a basket and that worked for a couple of hours.
Duke, who was in a lot less pain, was happy to keep her company.
That worked great for the 10 minutes that she held still and then, all of a sudden, somehow, she shrugged herself right out of the soft, fleece straight-jacket.
So then I tried putting her back in the basket but this time with Duke by her side.
That worked for most of the early evening and then when Missy got restless again, I moved her and Duke on to a pillow and that seemed to help enough that she could be right-side-up and tolerate the discomfort. She never flapped around any more or showed any signs of skittishness once I took the weight off her poor, broken legs.
She and Duke did really well and both were keeping each other very sweet company and both seemed to be resting and healing comfortably. Missy continued the antibiotics and pain med she was originally prescribed.
On the morning of 7/4, Missy, who had been doing great- eating and pooping and giving all the right signals, was a little lethargic and her poop went from great to watery. I noticed that she wasn't feeling as well as she had been but didn't know why. I left for a pool party at 1pm and when I got home at 8, she was dead. I was not at all expecting it and it hit me really hard.
I really wanted a necropsy to understand what happened to Missy but, after keeping her body in my fridge for a full week before I finally had time to get the cold packs and make time to Fed Ex her, it was too late. I'll never know what happened to Missy. My guess is that she had some impact injury (a crash landing or car-hit or human kick) that broke both her legs and did internal damage as well. She is missed.