Update on Leg Injury

wound on left back leg

left back leg wound

I was able to get a really good zoomed-in shot of the limping coyote’s injured leg. I first noted the limp about two weeks ago.

I have no idea if this laceration to the heel and maybe even the Achille’s tendon, as shown in the photo, is what caused the limp, but the laceration looks pretty recent.

Below is a video showing a few seconds of her gait — two weeks after I first noted the injury. She is no longer holding the leg up, but you can see that she is being very careful when putting weight on the leg.

A few days ago, as she crossed a field, I could see that her steps were uneven and jerky, as if she were almost “tripping” every few steps. So the leg has not healed, but it looks like it is improving: she is no longer holding it up when she walks.

Behaviorally, this coyote has been keeping out of view, and I wonder if it is to protect herself during a time when she might not be able to defend herself well or run away quickly should she need to do so.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gail
    Mar 10, 2013 @ 16:20:12

    Wishing her a speedy healing. Wish a vet could take a look at this video….but it’s brief so not sure if they could tell too much.


    • yipps
      Mar 11, 2013 @ 21:05:50

      Hi Gail —

      These wild animals heal best on their own. I didn’t call in a veterinarian when this same coyote was hit by a car which left the animal crippled for over a month, because I saw that she could take care of herself — barely, but that was enough. She did eventually heal, and I was so happy I hadn’t called anyone. I can imagine that, worse than any physical trauma or disease, would be for a coyote to be captured and kept away from its family. The entire family structure could change in its absence and then the coyote might no longer fit in. The one time I recall that “helping” a coyote worked was when a friend, with the help of a vet, dispensed a drug to combat mange by putting a dose of medicine in a piece of chicken. The sick animal did not see who put the chicken out, and never was handled by a human — this is the ideal way to help when necessary. My friend stuck around to make sure the right coyote ate the chicken! I was VERY proud of this person’s efforts. The coyote was seen several months later and had recovered!

    • Gail
      Mar 12, 2013 @ 00:54:48

      Yes, I completely understand the rationale behind your decision to not involve a vet. I was wondering only their opinion from a visual perspective….not hands on. I saw a doe yesterday lying in the sun not far from roadside which is not heavily traveled. Long story short, she eventually stood up and her front leg was dangling. I’m sure she was sunbathing for healing. Miracle of all miracles, i found out there are actually several wildlife rehabbers that treat deer. Have always thought there was only one option…conservation officer or sheriff. And we know what THAT would mean. The rehab person said the leg might atrophy but she’d still be able to get around. In cases where they can approach the deer, they will take it with them for treatment and eventual “soft release”. I hope our coyote friend does well.

    • yipps
      Mar 12, 2013 @ 04:11:22

      Thank you Gail for sending this. Seeing that doe must have been heart wrenching. I would have been compelled to call for help for any animal with a dangling leg — shows me that all is not always so black and white. It’s good to know that the place to call — always — is a rehab center. I hope the deer recovers and will be able to cope. And I wonder what happened?

  2. Barbara Knupp
    Mar 10, 2013 @ 22:52:04

    Wow what a great photo/video to see the leg up close as well as get an idea of how she moves! The hock does look bad but things appear to be headed in the right direction. I wonder if this is the only injury to the leg. Must be especially traumatic as the leg was previously injured when she was hit by a car. Also, could she be avoiding others because she is pregnant or maybe has pups? She appears to be in pretty good condition otherwise so seems she is eating okay. Always sad to see wildlife hurt. Unlike our pets, they are on their own. Wish her luck.


    • yipps
      Mar 11, 2013 @ 21:15:17

      Hi Barbara —

      You are right: I have no idea if the laceration is the whole story behind the limp, or if the leg was hurt in additional ways. I suppose the breeding season could be having an impact on her visibility: I’ll let you know if/when there are signs of pups! However, when other coyotes have been injured: a limp, or visible lacerations close to the eye causing eye swelling, I’ve noted that they keep a safer distance and are less visible than usual for a while. I also know an older coyote whose withdrawal from higher visibility I attribute to no longer being in tip-top shape.

  3. Gail
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 04:37:32

    I was torn about calling someone who might have likely shot her. Up to this point in my life – today, in fact – I, too, thought of these situations in black and white. No idea what caused the doe’s injury. But there was some kind of “telepathy” for me to know she was incurring healing upon herself, just the way she seemed so relaxed lying there in the long-awaited warm sunshine here in the northeast. I worry about other things for her now: Is she pregnant? If she is, how will she give birth, care for her babies, protect herself? Maybe I’ll see her again, possibly passing through our woodsy property. Or, maybe never. I’ll have to let this go and move on but I won’t forget her. I’ve been immersed in attempting to find ways to oppose the horrible “coyote killing contests” that seem to be popping up across the country. Sadly, I’ve discovered that there were at least 6 contests held this past winter here in NY state. It has to end.


    • yipps
      Mar 12, 2013 @ 05:02:38

      Hi Gail —

      I know what you mean about “sensing” or “telepathy” about what you saw. There are many more vibes that can be picked up from a situation than just the concrete physical ones. You can think about her, but you can’t worry about her — it’s not in your hands. If you ever do see her again, we would love to hear about it.

      The coyote killing contests are incredibly medieval and barbaric. We’ve had a couple this year here in CA. Thank you for working on this. Yes, it has to end, as does the trapping & killing of coyotes in neighborhoods just for having been seen. I’m trying to help with this.

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