Leg Paralysis in Waterfowl

Summary Information
Diseases / List of Physical / Traumatic Diseases / Disease summary
Alternative Names Folded-leg disease, Transportation trauma.
Disease Agents Prolonged flexion of hock joints. (V.w6)
Infectious Agent (s) --
Non-infectious Agent (s) --
Physical agents
General Description Clinical signs:
  • Paralysis of the legs, seen as an inability to stand, following transport of long-legged birds with their legs folded.
  • May be partial paresis, producing ataxia, or total paralysis.
  • Frequently permanent.


  • Necrotising myopathy.
  • Acidosis may be a contributing factor as in capture myopathy.

(B10.25.w17, B11.36.w4, V.w6).

Further Information Treatment:
  • Many treatments regimes have been attempted, including use of slings, physiotherapy and fluids with added bicarbonate to combat any acidosis. If the degree of paralysis is severe, treatment is rarely successful. (V.w6)


  • Prevented by ensuring long-legged birds are allowed to stand, or have the legs extended, during transportation, during and following surgery etc. - legs should never be folded for other than very brief periods (B11.36.w4, V.w6).
Techniques linked to this disease --
WaterfowlINDEXDisInvTrCntr.gif (2325 bytes)
Host taxa groups /species
Disease has been reported in either the wild or in captivity in the following WATERFOWL Species: [N.B. Miscellaneous / Traumatic Diseases tend to be under-reported and the majority are likely to affect all waterfowl species, given exposure to the related disease agents/factors.]
  • This condition is usually seen in long-legged birds, particularly cranes (including Demoiselle Grus (Anthropoides) virgo, Sarus Grus antigone), Flamingos (Phoenicopteriformes) and Seriamas (Carimidae) (B10.25.w17, V.w6).
Disease has been reported in free-ranging populations of the following WATERFOWL Species: --

Return to top of page