Two weeks ago one of our wonderful helpers, Kym, attended a rescue of an adult Red-necked wallaby found lying on the ground near a dog fence. It had been a very cold night and she was icy cold. A dead pinky joey was found nearby. Given she wasn’t a big wallaby, it was probably her first joey.
Kym bundled the mum up and Renata met her. Normally when an adult wallaby can’t move we assume it will have broken legs, hip, pelvis or spinal damage… which in most cases means euthanasia. But in this instance there was no obvious signs of injury… and it was something of a puzzle as to what had happened to her. We called Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital and yes, they could see her right away. So we bundled her up for the hour long drive…
As always, the awesome BBWH team put on the red carpet treatment for her, with full body X-rays, warm fluids, pain relief, and much more. She was still so cold her temperatures weren’t registering on the thermometer so Hayley worked magic with various techniques, including a hair dryer, and wrapping her feet in bubble wrap! Finally after what seemed like forever, her temperatures started registering.
The X-rays proved puzzling; no major fractures could be found. The only real clue to her paralysis was possible compression between two vertebra. But her feet had feeling and she had reflexes in both legs, and a little movement too. After much discussion we all decided it was worth giving her a chance at recovery, knowing that the outcome still might not be positive. So we bundled her up for the trip home, to more VIP treatment, an electric blanket and lots of physiotherapy.
Icy Girl adapted so beautifully to being in care. She never seemed stressed or bothered by us helping her. Her only priority was munching grass… and particularly devouring every Farmers Friend weed that we could find.
Don would take her out in the sun on the lawn each day for a long physio session of standing and stretching. She loved these sessions and would happily munch grass while being massaged and fussed over.
After two weeks, though, we were starting to despair that progress wasn’t happening. She could move her feet just a little, and still had sensation but we were hoping to see more. We started to discuss what our options were… Perhaps she sensed our concern, because that day she kicked one leg. There was hope yet.
So yesterday we rigged up a cradle for her so she can spend much more time upright. Unfazed by anything, she immediately started eating from the box of grass and water dish propped up beside her. After an hour of hanging she was wriggling her tail and lifting up both feet. We are ecstatic!
Of course she still has a long way to go, and there is a chance she might not make the essential full recovery, but she seems happy enough that we are giving her a chance.