When Stan was absent for two days at the "daily feeding frenzy", it was on to the bicycle to scour the golf course for his whereabouts. I found him in very shallow water, erect but not moving. He did not provide much of a fight as I secured him and carried him to my garage, a place of many swan events. His legs were not working, his mouth was dry, and his knob on his bill had atrophied. This was one sick swan, but the culprit did not appear to be avian botulism.
Very early the next morning, I contacted Save Our Seabirds, and was informed a policy change there did not allow them to treat swans. This was a stunning revelation and a notice was never received. In a flash, I contacted Lee Fox in Wimauma. After placing Stan in a carrying sling, we were off on the one hour drive.
Lee found Stan to have an infection along with severe dehydration. She subcutaneously pumped him with fluids and started antibiotics. The improvement was gradual over 9 days and Lee advised that Stan would only improve further and gain strength if he was reunited with his family. So he got his final pills orally, sat calmly on the ride back, and was put in the water near his cygnets. Strangely, the reunion had its tense moments, but after two hours, all seemed fine.
During Stan's rehab, the Club responded with water testing and treatment, and the weather brought much needed rain. One of the cygnets was missing, and later found lifeless in the water. The cause was likely the same as what got Stan, but the cygnet was too young to resist infection. So Stan returned to Wendy with now four cygnets instead of five.
Stan had lost weight, feathers, and strength. Gaining these back will take a month or so, and there is no guarantee that Stan will not carry a permanent impact from this ordeal. It's just one of those things in an environment where the strong survive.