You are here:

Wildlife/Gradual paralysis in buzzard



We rescued an injured honey buzzard that was shot in the wing. Part of his wing was severely damaged so had to be amputated. He was recovering well, but after about a week, his leg had a sudden paralysis, and after about a month, paralysis spread to his other leg and tail.
We contacted many vets, but sadly no one had an idea on what was happening, and there are no experts in raptors.
I hope you can help us by telling us what to do and what could be causing this. I made a research and it seems lead poisoning and botulism can cause this. Can they be causing this gradual paralysis?


Dear Bernard

Thank you very much for your question. It is sad do hear about what happened to the honey buzzard and that one of its wings had to be amputated.

I don't think that it might be the lead poisoning and botulism that could have caused the paralysis in the honey buzzard. The best answer that I can give you is that it might be Clenched foot Syndrome. Unfortunately the cause for this disease is unknown, but in some cases an encephalomyelitis of possible viral origin has been suspected. Other suspected causes are vitamin deficiencies with some suggestions that vitamin E deficiency is involved. Some birds may recover fully in a few days to a few weeks. A large number of birds that survive the first week will stay with clenched feet and eat and live relatively normally during the next few months. No long-term studies have been performed to determine how long the birds may live with the clenched feet. There is no specific treatment. The secondary infections, nutritional deficiencies and inflammation need to be treated. This may include antibiotics, corticosteroids and vitamin injections. Fluid therapy is normally necessary in the first 24 - 48 hours either by crop tube or by injection. Exercising the clenched foot by opening it to its normal shape and then "bicycling" the legs 2 - 3 times daily may be beneficial.

I really hope that this have answered your question, but I have tried to answer your question to the best of my knowledge.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jan Basson


I can answer most questions regarding wildlife which includes birds, mammals and marine wildlife within Southern Africa. I have recently also completed my studies in Wildlife Management, and will be able to answer questions regarding relocation of animals, some animal diseases, and habitat management. Please do not ask me about any other animals which is not within Southern Africa. I do not answer questions regarding domestic animals.


I have got a few years experience in Game Ranging and Field Guiding. Some Experience in Astonomy, Marine Biology and Wildlife Management.

I am a member of the Honorary Rangers of South Africa. I also have my own Game Ranging / Safari Company.

Certificates in Game Ranging, Field Guiding, Astronomy, Trials Guiding, Marine Biology and Wildlife Management

©2017 All rights reserved.