Broken Bones – Brenda

As carers, the raising of imperfect animals of any species should not be attempted. – under
the rules and regulations authorised shelter operators follow, it is not allowed. Any animal
which will not be able to adequately take its place in the wild should be euthanised. Setting
broken legs of macropods should not be attempted particularly if the animal is no longer
considered to be a ‘joey’. A joey may be able to cope with a healed bone as the bones are
still growing and strengthening and the animal will be in care long enough for the body to
regain full growth and strength, but a sub adult or adult can be a dangerous animal to treat.
As much as some of us would like everything to be treated, healed and released, in reality
this very often isn’t possible. There is danger for the animal and also for the carer.
Consider the stress the animal will be subjected to whilst in care, some will die because of
the stress they are subjected to. Also the loss of muscle density and strength while the
animal is convalescing may put it at risk when released, after all, we can’t explain that things
have to be taken easy for a while, nor can we supply crutches until full strength in the
repaired leg and convalescing body has developed. In full flight an adult kangaroo hits the
ground with such force that the healed break may not have enough strength to take the
pressure of the toes hitting the ground.. Becoming entangled in fences may also be a
danger if the animal is not at full strength and capacity.

A broken bone does not itself cause death, we must consider the likelihood of an injured
animal laying for many days unable to move that will constantly be attacked by insects and
probably other predatory species. I would think most rescuers have been called to animals
laying in paddocks with broken legs, the callers will tell you they have been laying there for
2,3,4 or even more days. When the animals are checked they will often be found with
horrific open wounds that will mostly be filled with maggots and any other parasites that
invade open wounds, there is also likely to be horrific infection. All orifices are likely to have
been invaded by ants, flies and any other creepy crawly. Not uncommon is eyes picked out
by birds, also ears eaten off as well as fingers, arms and feet chewed away [Garry and I
have attended such animals many times over the years]. I often wonder how many of these
injured animals are not found and die slowly and painfully over a number of days.

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