Snowshoes in the Summer

California Wildlife Center recently rescued a Northern Mockingbird whose feet were knuckling, meaning she was unable to open her feet to stand or perch.  This was causingbefore and after snowshoes the bird to have to stand on the tops of her toes which were curled under and causing her additional injury.

CWC veterinary staff created “snowshoes” for the mockingbird to retrain her feet to open and allow the injuries to her toes to heal.  The treatment was successful and the bird is now snowshoe-free and on the road to full recovery!

9 replies
  1. Margareta Marro
    Margareta Marro says:

    Absolut fabulous! Can you please share more in detail how the vet treated the injury and how long the bird was wearing the “snow shoes”?

    • protectanimals
      protectanimals says:

      In this particular case, the bird had the shoes on for one week. We will generally keep the shoes on for 5-7 days (depending on the severity of the knuckling) then remove them and see if the bird maintains its digits in correct positioning without the shoes. If it does, we leave them off and recheck daily for the next few days in a row to make sure they stay that way. If they are not maintained in correct positioning when we remove the shoes, we will replace the snowshoes for another 5-7 days. The birds generally tolerate the shoes very well, walking fairly normally with them on, and in cases where they have only one foot with a shoe and the other without, they will even perch on ropes or branches.
      Thanks,
      Dr. Lorraine Barbosa

      • Kristina
        Kristina says:

        Hi Lorraine, we have rescued fledgling sparrow from our cats on one foot was knuckled. We have tried this idea and it is working great apart from the fact that she struggles to get her foot underneath sometimes. It looks like the top of the birds logs may be taped, is this done to help stop the issue that we have with the leg splaying and getting stuck ? Thanks very much.

        • protectanimals
          protectanimals says:

          Kristina,
          Thank you for reaching out to us. We recommend that you check with your veterinarian as every patient is different and requires customized care.

  2. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    Absolutely fabulous indeed! I can’t even handle the picture of the little miss with her snowshoes on, lol. I’m glad she’s on her way to a happy knuckle-free life – do you have any “after” pictures?

  3. Maria Larissa
    Maria Larissa says:

    Hi, I’m Brazilian and I’m using google translator, so I’m sorry if it gets bad. I have a bird with the same problem. I would like to know the step by step to make this orthopedic shoe. Please. 🙂

    • protectanimals
      protectanimals says:

      Maria,
      Please contact your local veterinarian to determine if this is the best course of treatment for your bird.
      Thank you.

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