Multiple methods to correct angular limb deformities in captive-reared long-legged birds, including taping methods, braces, and surgical techniques1-3 in addition to husbandry adjustments, have been attempted. A taping technique utilizing Kinesio Tex Gold® was used on two hand-reared American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) chicks at the Denver Zoo. This tape has the properties of allowing normal range of motion of the intertarsal joint, application of variable tension along the length of tape to provide targeted correction, water resistance, no tape residue or damage to the skin, and stimulation of microcirculation and lymphatic drainage (http://kinesiotaping.com/Kinesio-concepts.php [VIN editor: Link not accessible 1/7/21]).
One male chick developed a unilateral angular limb deformity with laxity of the associated gastrocnemius tendon and medial rotation of the foot at 98 days old. Another male chick developed a unilateral angular limb deformity at 242 days old. Kinesio Tex Gold® tape was applied to provide joint support and stability of the gastrocnemius tendon. Tension was applied to the medial aspect of the proximal tarsometatarsus in an attempt to stimulate medial correction of the valgus bowing. Radiographs were obtained to document the age of closure of the epiphyseal plates. To establish normal intertarsal joint angles, age-matched flamingos were measured at 281–298 days of age. The angular limb deformity of both affected chicks was corrected over a 3-month period of continual taping. The intertarsal joint angle of both chicks remains within the normal range for the flock after 300 days of age, and there is no evident angular limb deformity or lameness in either of these birds.
1. Kirwood, J. 2008. Twisting and bending deformities of the long bones in growing birds. In: Samour, J. (ed.). Avian Medicine, 2nd ed. Mosby Elsevier, New York, New York. 258–263.
2. Martin, H., and B.R. Ritchie. 1994. Orthopedic surgical techniques. In: Ritchie, B.W., G.J. Harrison, and L.R. Harrison (eds.). Avian Medicine: Principles and Application. Wingers Publishing, Inc., Lake Worth, Florida. 1137–1169.
3. Zollinger, T.J., K.A. Backues, and A.G. Burgos-Rodriguez. 2005. Correction of angular limb deformity in two subspecies of flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) utilizing a transphyseal bridging technique. J Zoo Wildl Med. 36:689–697.