When a male magpie was brought into the Rehabilitation Centre on the Sunshine Coast after a suspected car strike, his left foot was curled tight.
“It was just all clenched up and couldn’t open,” veterinarian Claude Lacasse said.
“I did some X-rays and there were no fractures but it could have been an old injury.”
Ms Lacasse knew in that moment it was time to get crafty.
Using a method she had developed over the years, she carefully constructed a special sandal out of splint material and tape and gently prepared the Magpie for a fitting.
“We anaesthetise the birds” Ms Lacasse said.
"It’s easier when they’re not wiggling.
“We just do a fitting while the bird is sleeping and he wakes up with his new shoe.”
The shoe will remain in place for ten days and the magpie is expected to regain the use of his foot.
Ms Lacasee has been making the bird shoes, or “paddles”, for more than a decade.
She said about 80 per cent of the birds that used one had regained the use of their foot.
“It depends what the original causes are. Obviously, if there’s just too much damage and the tendons are completely traumatised, it doesn’t work,” Ms Lacasee said
"If it’s just mild constriction of the muscles and tendons, that usually resolves quite well.