Mista Clyde, Please Get Well. I Love You!

Yesterday morning my sweet Mista Clyde was running around as usual, but in the afternoon he stood on the other side of the pool, eyeing my friend and I as we talked. Next, he tried to get into the pool with some difficulty, finally made it in, only to float there, not going after the girl Iliya was on a date with as he usually would. I noticed he had significant trouble exiting the pool, so decided to check him over. He appeared a bit hunched, lethargic. I felt along all of his wing and leg bones, his back and breast, for any signs of broken bones or injury. Nothing! I let him go again to watch how he walked. He made a slow, ambling b-line across the yard to a far corner and stood by himself, facing the six foot wooden fence. Olga approached him flirtatiously, her head bobbing, but he nuzzled her away with his bill.

I decided to take him in the house. He was pooping only the white slime, the uric acid content, and no solid food. Shortly after I called the vet.

On the way to the vet, Clyde looked out the window, but he also stayed calm, nearly cuddling with me, now and then nuzzling his bill beneath my chin. He wasn't himself. The vet drew blood and took x-rays. He hung the x-rays on the backlit panel on the wall and said there were no obstructions; however, if Clyde had swallowed a piece of rubber it would not show up. Then he pointed to a fuzzy area in the center of Clyde's body in the area of the liver and said it appeared to be a large mass.

We took Clyde home last night without a firm answer and received a call today from the vet who said the blood results were not too abnormal, except for slightly lowered liver functions and a bit of anemia. Normal liver functions, he said, were 42, but Clyde's measurement was 40. He said this wasn't significant.

All afternoon Clyde has been grumpy, so I considered that perhaps he felt better and took him outside to enjoy the sunshine, which he seemed to enjoy. He stood around, peered down at the ground, shuffled some grass stems with his bill, looked up at the sky. My poor Mista Clyde!

After a while I went inside, but returned to the window where I could peek out to observe Clyde without his knowing. He remained standing around. He never went to the food bin, even though he'd walked by it when I was outside and he hasn't eaten chow for a day and a half. Finally, I brought him back inside and put him back in the cage with some water containing electrolytes and vitamins.

He stood panting lightly, sometimes stretching his head (not his neck) a little bit and swallowing, then taking a small sip of the water. A tear rolled down my cheek as I watched him, at one point, come out of the cage and call out to his friends outside. Sofiya, a Pekin, answered back and soon a chorus of hen quacks bounded across sound waves through the open window. Clyde stood erect saying, "Waaaaack! Waaaaaaack! Waaaaaaack!"

Every time I see this burst of energy I have hope. He did it again right before I came to write this, so I mixed chow with water and encouraged him to eat. To my surprise he started eating--dabbling in the wet mix and alternating with sips of water and shredded greens.

I am guilty of grasping to a thread of hope that he will spring out of this, my Mista Clyde. He's a beautiful drake, only two years old, half mallard/half Indian runner. And I don't want to guilt trip myself thinking I may have done something to cause his illness. The questions do run through my mind, though, questions like, What if he has liver failure from eating too much oyster shell? I read somewhere that drakes can suffer liver failure from too much oyster shell, but, at the time, I weighed the options because the hens need the calcium and I figured if I put the oyster shell in a separate container they could help themselves to what they need. Maybe this was poor judgment on my part.

The vets say Clyde appears to have a mass on his x-ray and they will call back tomorrow, after doing some research, to let me know a game plan. It's up in the air right now. I don't know if there's anything that can be done for my sweet boy Mista Clyde. I don't want him to suffer. Of course I want him to live. This illness, whatever it is, struck so suddenly--within a day he was feeling unwell.

This breaks my heart.

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