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Ectoparasites

Cause:
Red Mite and other blood sucking mites, Feather mites, Skin Mites and Pigeon Fly are the main external parasites of pigeons.

Symptoms:
Mites, lice and Pigeon Fly infestations are commonly found in pigeons. The blood sucking mites such as the red mite  will live in cracks and crevices in the pigeon loft and come out after dark to suck blood. The quill mite lives inside the shaft of the feather. They cause severe irritation to adult pigeons. This irritation may affect racing performance. When they feed on babies in the nest they may cause anemia and even death.  Skin mites cause skin rashes and severe irritation. Feather lice live on the feathers of pigeons and are an indication of poor husbandry in a pigeon loft. The pigeon fly sucks blood and causes severe irritation to pigeons. It is also known to transmit pigeon malaria that may have a devastating effect on pigeons racing performance. Pigeon fly may also transmit lice and mites from one pigeon to the next.

Diagnosis:
Visual inspection of the feathers of pigeons will reveal the mites on the feathers or on the skin. The placing of balls of cotton wool in nests in evening and removing them in morning will reveal the presence of red mite.

ectoparasites
Slender pigeon louse, Columbicola

 

Treatment:
Six to eight weekly application of Pyrethroid sprays or the application of pigeon specific Ivermectin spot on drops.

 

 

Endoparasites (worms)

Cause:
The most common worm infestations in pigeons are Roundworm, Hairworm, Tapeworm and Lungworm.

Symptoms:
Hairworms are blood sucking worms that cause enteritis and severe anemia in babies. In adult birds they will severely affect racing and breeding performance by causing mild anemia. Roundworms cause stunted growth and emaciation in babies. When found in large numbers they may obstruct the intestines and cause death. They will negatively affect racing and breeding performance in adults. Lungworms cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms and affect racing performance negatively. Pigeons may gape and even sneeze when infested. Tapeworms may cause general mild weakness and poor growth in babies. Severe infestation in adults will affect performance and is an indication of poor husbandry.     

Diagnosis:
Faecal flotation (testing for worm eggs under the microscope) will reveal the Hairworm, Roundworm and Lungworm eggs. Visual inspection of droppings will reveal the typical small pinhead grey pink Tapeworm packets (proglotids).

endoparasites_1 endoparasites_2 endoparasites_3 endoparasites_4
Hairworm egg Roundworm egg Lungworm egg Tapeworm

Treatment:
Treat every 8 weeks with a pigeon specific broad spectrum combination dewormer containing Pyrantel, Febantal, Levamisole, Ivermectin and Praziquantel. Alternate products to prevent resistance. (Do not use sheep and cattle products).

 

Trichomoniasis (Crop Canker)

Cause:

Trichomoniasis is caused by a protozoan called Trichomonas gallinae.

Symptoms:

Trichomoniasis is the most common infection found in pigeons. Although it will seldom cause clinical disease of crop and throat inflammation, with the typical yellow accumulation, it has a devastating effect on the racing results of pigeons. It will often also predispose pigeons to other diseases and cause bad growth in babies. In severe cases and especially when pigeons immune systems are down it may cause systemic infections in the navel or even in the liver.

trichomoniasis_2 trichomoniasis_1


Diagnosis:

A crop smear is examined under the microscope and the typical one cellular organism is seen moving around with its anterior flagella.

Treatment:

Racing pigeons, breeding pigeons and babies should be treated preventatively every few weeks according to a good routine program or when diagnosed by cropsmear.  

Dimetridazole, Ronidazole, Metronidazole and Secnidazole may be used for routine preventative treatment. It is important to alternate products to prevent resistance. Resistant strains must be treated with Dimetridazole high dose treatments combined with antitoxins or with Secnidazole and Ronidazole combinations.

 

Coccidiosis

Cause:

Coccidiosis is caused by a one cellular protozoon called Eimeria

Symptoms:

Coccidiosis is one of the classical carrier diseases. In many cases, especially in adult pigeons, no apparent symptoms are seen when pigeons are infected.  The racing performance of pigeons is however affected with pigeons becoming less competitive and refusing to train around the loft. In babies and pigeons under severe stress or suffering from other diseases mild to severe enteritis with loose stools are sometimes seen. Babies may loose weight and become stunted in their growth. Coccidiosis predisposes pigeons to many other diseases.

Diagnosis:

Faecal flotation reveals the typical small coccidian “eggs” called oocysts. These oocysts are much smaller than worm eggs.

coccidiosis
A Single Coccidian oocyst

 

Treatment:

 

Treatment is usually only carried out when the flotation reveals an increased oocyst shedding. Routine treatment every four to six weeks during the racing season is recommended when tests cannot be done. It is best to alternate treatments by using new generation Suphonamides such as Suphadimethoxine with Diclazuril or Toltrazuril. Sulphonamides may be combined with Trimethoprim to also make it effective against Salmonella and E coli.
Toltrazuril is currently the treatment of choice as it is not absorbed and works in the intestine where the Coccidia resides Amprolium will only suppress Coccidia and is not recommended.

 

Ornithosis “One eye cold”


Cause:

“One eyed cold” or Ornithosis is caused by a bacterial like organism called Chlamydia.

Symptoms:

Ornithosis is one of the most common respiratory infections found in pigeons. It is often confused with Mycoplasmosis. Ornithosis causes severe respiratory disease in pigeons and usually starts as a mild inflammation in the one eye. It may progress to severe lung disease and death or may stay as a mild disease suppressing racing performance. It is transmitted via the eggs and may cause early death of babies. It may also cause serious disease in humans.

Treatment:

Ornithosis is difficult to treat and treatment must be continued for at least 10 to 20 days. Doxycycline is still  the safest and by far the most effective treatment. It is recommended that all racing pigeons be treated eight weeks before the training tosses for 20 days continuously. Treatment must be repeated in mid season for 10 days. Resistance to treatment is increasing and therefore it is extremely important to use the correct newer high dose treatment regime. Pigeon products containing Doxycycline should contain 5% Doxycycline when used at 5 grams per liter of drinking water. By combining Doxycycline with Bromhexine for the first 5 days the treatment is improved. If its is suspected that pigeons also suffer from Mycoplasmosis combined treatment with Doxycycline and  Spiramycin may be done for the first 7 days.

 

Mycoplasmosis
 
Cause:

Mycoplasmosis is caused by the organism Mycoplasma. There are currently three species of this organism.

Symptoms:

Mycoplasmosis is one of the most common respiratory infections found in pigeons. It is often confused with Ornithosis. It causes moderate respiratory disease in pigeons and usually starts as a mild inflammation in the eyes and nose. A clear thread of slime often accumulates in the back of the throat.  It may progress to severe lung disease and death or may stay as a mild disease suppressing racing performance. It is often characterized by sneezing, shaking the head and scratching of the nostrils. It is transmitted via the eggs and may cause early death of babies.

mycoplasmosis

Treatment:

Mycoplasmosis is becoming more difficult to treat due to resistance developing. Treatment must be continued for at least 5 to7 days. Four to six weekly preventative treatment is advised. It is advised to alternate products to prevent resistance developing. Breeding pigeons should be well treated before the season and babies should be treated preventatively until the molt starts.

Tylosin, Spiramycin,Lincomycin, Doxycycline, Chlor-Tetracycline and many other products are used alone or in combination to treat Mycoplasmosis.

 

Orniplasmosis

Cause:

Orniplasmosis is a new disease syndrome caused by a combined infection with Ornithosis (Chlamydia) and Mycoplasmosis (Mycoplasma).

Symptoms:

Mild to severe upper respiratory symptoms with regular sneezing, rubbing of the eyes and swelling of the eye membranes is seen. Upper respiratory symptoms may evolve to full blown bronchitis with typical rales or even pneumonia with difficult breathing and death. Severe loss of racing performance is typical. Treatment of this syndrome is often only mildly effective and temporary.  

Diagnosis:

Specialized laboratory tests is the only way to confirm this syndrome.
Clinical symptoms that is unresponsive to treatment is highly indicative of this syndrome.

Treatment:

Orniplasmosis is notoriously difficult to treat. Combination antibiotic treatment with Doxycycline (Chlamydia) and Spiramycin (Mycoplasmosis) is recommended. The combination should be used for 7 days and then treatment with Doxycyline alone must be continued for 14 days more. It is imperative that all the pigeons in the loft be treated.Pigeons with clinical symptoms should be isolated and also be treated with a combination Doxycycline and Spiramycin tablet once per day for the first 7 days.

 

Young Bird Disease
 

Cause:

Young Bird Disease (YBD) is a devastating disease normally affecting pigeons younger than 10 months. It is caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria but is always initiated by Circo-virus infection.  

Symptoms:

YBD starts off with babies becoming listless and losing there appetite. They soon start vomiting and soon afterwards they stool become loose. The disease progresses to a severe gastroenteritis with very bad foul smelling diarrhea. Pigeons become very emaciated and up to 20% may die. YBD wipes out the birds immune system and secondary infections such as E coli Salmonella and Trichomoniasis is common. In the mild form only the immunity is affected and these pigeons respond poorly to vaccination or preventative treatment whilst often getting lost on training tosses. Pigeons not dying from YBD will recover fully if treated correctly.    

Treatment:

Isolation and disinfection are the most important factors to be followed during an outbreak. Sick babies must be isolated in a separate loft. At the first sign of disease a pigeon specific immune stimulant and intestinal protectant containing Pre and Pro-biotics must be given for 10 days. Babies should rest and a safe and effective broad spectrum antibiotic combination such as Sulpha/ Trimethoprim combination should be given for 7 days. Whilst the diarrhea is severe a pigeon specific electrolyte that includes amino-acids must be used.

 

Candidiasis (Thrush)

Cause:

Candidiasis is caused by a yeast called Candida albicans

Symptoms:

Candidiasis was seen in the past only as an opportunistic infection after heavy treatment weith antibiotics or when pigeons had a serious immune deficiency. Lately the organism has become more virulent and can cause primary infections without any predisposing factors other than stress being prevalent. Although it will seldom cause the typical inflammation with frothy slime accumalation in the back of the throat pigeons will often be seen trying to swallow their food with the necks outstretched. It causes a mild to severe inflammation of the crop lining. This will result in slower emptying of the crop with food often still found in the crop in the morning. Sub-clinical infections will cause no visible signs other than mild appetite loss a noticeable loss in racing performance.

Diagnosis:

A crops smear is stained with a special stain and examined under the microscope. Large numbers of typical blue budding oblong Candida organisms are seen in profusion.

Treatment:

In the past the only effective and safe treatment and prevention of Candida in pigeons use to be Nystatin containing drugs. However severe resistance against Nystatin has developed and drugs containing Nystatin is often no longer effective in the treatment and prevention of Candida. An incredible new natural treatment based on the combination of five well researched natural Candida suppressive agents has been proven to cure and prevent Candidiasis in cases where Nystatin and other drugs have failed.

Prevention:

Replace all plastic water and food bowls with glass or high quality stainless steel. Prevent overmedication with broad spectrum antibiotics and chlorine containing disinfectives. Regular supplementation with Pre and Probiotic supplement that preferably also contains Apple cider vinegar and Grape fruit seed extract will reduce the incidence of Candida. In refractive cases of repetitive Candida infections, the preventative use of the new Natural Candida product twice a week may be considered.

Pigeon Malaria

Cause:

Pigeon Malaria is a Protozoal disease caused by the Hamaproteus columbae. Pigeon Malaria is transmitted by the Pigeon fly and possibly by mosquitoes and midges. Although Pigeon Malaria has never been known to cause any clinical disease symptoms it severely affects racing performance. Once a pigeon has been infected by the organism, it is allmost impossible to permanently clear the infection and such infected pigeons need to be treated sporadically to reduce the amounts of parasites in the blood. The organism completes its life cycle in the lung cells and may also play a role in Respiratory diseases. Effective control of the pigeon fly is best way to prevent the infection.

Symptoms:

Pigeon Malaria does not cause any clinical disease symptoms. Pigeons that have a larger amount of the organisms in the blood stream will develop an accute loss of racing performance and do not even want to train around the loft. Pigeons suffering from chronic unresponsive respiratory disease may also be suffering from low grade Pigeon Malaria.

Treatment:

Extended treatment for 10-14 days wwith water soluble Primaquin should be done before the racing season. Treatment with Primaquin for longer than three days result in severe fatty liver syndrome. Always combine Primaquin treatment with a good liver support product to reduce the effects on the liver. Remember to use an effective ectoparaciticide to prevent the transmission of the disease. Three day treatment with Primaquin during the racing season may improve racing performance.

Aflotoxicosis and Mycotoxins (grain contamination and poisoning of insecticides and other toxins)

Description:

AvioAntitox is the first ever pigeon specific Antitox developed to treat poisoning of pigeons with insecticides or other toxins. It is also highly effective in treating the symptoms of Aflotoxicosis and other mycotoxins found in contaminated grain. The nutraceutical combination found in this amazing product will also chelate heavy metal poisoning found in contaminated drinking water or grains. Apart from the direct toxin eliminating effects this incredible range of Nutraceutical  substances also stimulates the liver to detoxify the blood and even stimulates liver cell regeneration.  AvioAntitox is also one of the few products that has a kidney stimulating effect to enable the kidneys to best excrete the metabolized toxins. No other product can compare in the treatment of poisonings in pigeons. Contains the incredible Aviomed food adherent gel to ensure optimal covering of grain with the product.

Coccidiosis

Cause:

Coccidiosis is caused by a one cellular protozoon called Eimeria

Symptoms:

Coccidiosis is one of the classical carrier diseases. In many cases, especially in adult pigeons, no apparent symptoms are seen when pigeons are infected.  The racing performance of pigeons is however affected with pigeons becoming less competitive and refusing to train around the loft. In babies and pigeons under severe stress or suffering from other diseases mild to severe enteritis with loose stools are sometimes seen. Babies may loose weight and become stunted in their growth. Coccidiosis predisposes pigeons to many other diseases.

Diagnosis:

Faecal flotation reveals the typical small coccidian “eggs” called oocysts. These oocysts are much smaller than worm eggs.


coccidiosis

 

A Single Coccidian oocyst
 

 

Treatment:


Treatment is usually only carried out when the flotation reveals an increased oocyst shedding. Routine treatment every four to six weeks during the racing season is recommended when tests cannot be done. It is best to alternate treatments by using new generation Suphonamides such as Suphadimethoxine with Diclazuril or Toltrazuril. Sulphonamides may be combined with Trimethoprim to also make it effective against Salmonella and E coli.
Toltrazuril is currently the treatment of choice as it is not absorbed and works in the intestine where the Coccidia resides   
Amprolium will only suppress Coccidia and is not recommended.