Canker is considered to be the most common disease that pigeons suffer from. Most birds get infected by this disease by drinking unsafe water which may contain dangerous microscopic protozoans. Although this disease is not very harmful to the actual sufferer, the bird casualties associated to this disease is due to the fact that sick birds cannot effectively feed their young. Thus, many squabs (young pigeons) die each year because of the inability of the parents to rear them.
An infected bird is easy to spot because of their changed behaviour as well as the physical signs which the birds might show. You can tell that a pigeon has Canker if it becomes lethargic, staying only on one place without moving or without doing other activities. Examples of physical changes, the most obvious are: loss weight, diarrhoea and ugly, ruffled feathers. Although this disease has no record to being transferred to humans, it is still wise if you know how to prevent it. For pigeons, you can use anti-fungal products to control the stress that they would feel after ingesting the dangerous protozoans that cause the disease. Of course since it is impossible to make sure that the birds will only drink from clean water sources, the best that you can do is to secure the birds themselves by monitoring and controlling the feeds that you give them
(this is especially true if you allow your birds to roam around)
. There are anti-canker products which you can use too. These products/drugs are better because they really target the problem.
Cause: This is a highly infectious and common pigeon disease which is caused by a protozoan. It infects the intestine of birds. It usually persists in all pigeons, but adult birds have developed enough immunity to this disease to remain fit and fine. Young pigeons are the targets of this disease. The birds which are subjected to severe stress that is racing, showing, and lack of food or water are prone to this disease.
Symptoms: Infected birds have little or no desire to drink or eat. They lack in any desire to move and frequently close their eyes. Their droppings are usually loose, green in color and may become watery. There is loss of weight and death can occur in young birds.
Prevention: Keep their lofts dry and clean. Do not allow feed to come in contact with droppings. Do not allow birds to drink water from mud puddles and keep water and feed free from contact with rodents.
Here are some tips to prevent diseases in pigeons:
Keep the loft clean and dry. Feed pigeons with a diet consisting of pellets and seeds twice daily. Provide clean water for pigeons.
Vaccinate the pigeons. Check their droppings at night. If the droppings are loose white or green then the pigeon is ill. Separate the ill pigeon from others.
Keep new pigeons separate for few days so that they do not fall sick. It is important to take this step because disease generally comes from outside.
Give pigeons a chemical bath every 4 months to get rid of fleas. Dip them in the water which is mixed with dog insecticide
Soak bird’s grain (feed) in water before feeding them for one week. This can be helpful for the pigeons who has weak digestive system
Bacterial diseases are mostly contracted by eating infected food, or come from stings, bites, wounds or inhalation. Viral diseases arise from infected drinking water, from a sneeze from another sick bird or other airborne contact. Fungus diseases are spread by wind, water or contact. Protozoa, such as the Trichomonas which causes canker, are often carried by parent birds without any symptoms and are passed to their youngsters by mouth.
Parasitic diseases are internal as the result of birds ingesting worms or their eggs, or external by contact with birds carrying on them some stage of parasite. It is essential that the fancier should have some understanding of the life-cycle of both types of parasite, because to control parasitic disease successfully this cycle must be broken.
Cause and Symptoms - Paramyxovirus or PMV-1 is a viral infection unique to pigeons and is extremely contagious, especially in the racing sport where hundreds or thousands of birds are mixed and confined prior to release. Direct contact or indirect contact through contaminated feed, water or litter can spread the disease. Symptoms include extremely loose, watery droppings, lack of appetite, ruffled feathers poor coordination, and sometimes paralysis of wings and legs. In advanced stages, birds will show "twisted neck" symptoms and many birds will die.
Prevention - Currently in the U.S and Europe, the only effective means of protection is by vaccination with the Maine Biological oil-adjuvant PMV-1 vaccine. Many fanciers are using the LaSota vaccine, thinking that they are protecting their birds, but challenge tests using LaSota vaccine was not effective in producing antibodies for the pigeon PMV-1 virus. While the LaSota vaccine was effective for short duration protection for Newcastle's disease, this disease is almost non-existent in pigeons and should be differentiated fromPMV-1.
Cause - This fairly common pigeon disease is caused by a protozoan that attacks the red blood cells of our birds. It is primarily carried by the pigeon fly, which acts as the intermediate host. Random tests of pigeon flocks have shown as much as a 30% malaria rate.
Symptoms - Symptoms are vague. Except for some loss of gloss in plumage and reduced performance in racing events, there are no readily visible symptoms.
Prevention - Since the pigeon fly is the primary carrier of this disease, it is imperative that these flies be controlled. It' important to quarantine newly acquired birds, dust or dip birds after they have mingled with others, and eliminate contact wild pigeons, because curing this disease is very difficult.
Paratyphoid can be caused by un-sanitary conditions and the contamination of feed by rodents. It also can occur when introducing new pigeons into the loft, without checking first if they are healthy. Before putting new
pigeons into the loft, isolate and observe them for 5 days and put them on a preventive medication.
Symptoms of Paratyphoid:
Loss of condition and weight.
Green slimy droppings.
Swelling of the leg and wing joints.
Twisted neck (seldom)
One eye blindness (seldom)
Products for Prevention and Cure:
Furaltadone & Colistine 5% (DAC)
Trimethoprim ? Sulfa (DAC)
Para-Mix 1 (Travipharma)
Sal-Bac Vaccine (Bio-Mune).
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