Pigeon Diseases and Remedies

If Pigeons and pigeon lofts are observed closely everyday it is rather easy to identify the diseases at the very start itself and to apply proper treatment. In general in the health–care system of birds prevention of diseases is much more important than the actual treatment. Unlike in the case of other animals, it is rather difficult to apply treatment and give medicine to the birds, especially to pigeons. Moreover repetition of any disease might lead to stress which is very dangerous to their life. Hence preventive health-care is preferred by all pigeon lovers.

Some important information regarding pigeons are given below.
Body Temperature 101.8-104 OF
Average Weight Male 450-500gm
Female 400-450gm
Average Life Span 15 Years
Time to reach Maturity 6 to 7months
Number of eggs 1 to 2
Hatching period 18 days
Time to start flying 30 days
Seperation from the mother 25 to 30 days
Water consumption 30 to 60ml daily average
45ml in summer 60 to 120 ml.
Food consumption 30gm daily average.

Stress

All kinds of birds living in a nest develop stress and it might lead to different kinds of diseases. Some causes for stress and related to the very nature of birds very difficult to get rid off. But tension resulting from food change or change in the living conditions could easily to avoided it proper care is taken.

Some main causes for stress in pigeons are listed below:

  • Moulting period: It is a period of tension for pigeons, when the old feathers start dropping and
  • Unhealthy crowding of pigeons in a small space resulting in a lack of proper air circulation and creating a feeling of congestion.
  • Climatic changes like heavy wind or rain and change of loft and space.
  • Absence of proper nutrients in the food.
  • Virus attack- both external and internal.
  • Infections
  • Hatching
  • Squab care

Feeding with well balanced nutrious food and strengthening the defensive mechanisms of the body to protect from diseases would help to minimize the natural stress conditions. Other causes for stress should be removed as far as possible.

Pigeons Diseases

The diseases that affect pigeons are divided in to contagious diseases and non contagious diseases. Viruses, Bacteria, Fungi and Parasites are the main causes for contagious diseases while non-contagious diseases are resulted from the absence of proper nutrients as well as poisonous elements in the food.

Important Symptoms

  • Refusal of food and water.
  • Sitting idle with over-stretched feathers.
  • Change in the nature and colour of droppings.
  • Swelling on the toes and difficulty to walk.
  • Breathing difficulty.
  • Watering from eyes and nose.
  • A paste like fatty substance of varied colours oozing out of the Mouth.
  • Unsteady movements of head and legs of walking aimlessly and unsteadly, holding headside ways.
  • Boils on the face and beak.

 Salmonellosis is caused by a bacteria called salmonella:

Symptoms differ according to the organ that is affected. This disease is rather mortal for the squabs (little pigeons) and it spreads around very rapidly. Pigeons that are just cured of the disease may not show forth any of the symptoms, but continue to spread around the disease germs through their excreta, crop milk or milky substance given to squabs through vomiting salvia and eggs. The germs get into other pigeons through food, water, air and eggs and reach their intestine. According to the number of germs and the organ that is mainly affected four different varieties of symptoms are observed.

  • Germs that affect the intestine: The germs get multiplied in the intestine and make small pores on the walls creating swelling of the intestine and loose motion. Excreta appears watery or pasty in Brown or some other unusual colour. In this condition nutrients from food are not absorbed an d the pigeon become very weak day by day.
  • Germs that affect the joints: The germs that come out of the intestine through the pores made by themselves enter in to the blood vessels, travel around the body and settle at the joints creating pain and swelling. As a result the pigeon develops symptoms like putting down one wing or lifting up one leg unsteadly. The toes joints of one leg might appear swollen.
  • Germs that affect the internal organs: When the germs get into the internal organs like liver, kidneys, spleen, heart and pancreas more serious symptoms like breathing difficulty appear and the bird becomes too tired to move.
  • Germs that affect the nerves: Gradually the germs attack the nervous system and get into the brain cells. The pigeon loses the capacity for body balancing and starts to move the head unsteadly and soon becomes paralysed.

Autopsy of the dead body of the pigeon, a lab examination of the droppings may reveal the presence of salmonella bacteria. If the symptoms are the very severe antibiotic injection is a must. The medicine could also be given through drinking water. A newly purchased pigeon need to be given antibiotics like Furozolidone at least for three days. Any pigeon showing symptoms like holding down the wings, swelling of the toe joint, holding one leg up and droppings appearing greenish must undergo immediate treatment.

Treatment

  • Oxytetracycline (La 200)50mg/kg 1M one every 3 to 5 days.
  • Furozolidone P.O 7.5mg/kg/pigeon/day.
  • Enrofloxacin 15mg/kg.P.O or 1M or 250mg/ A Litre of drinking water.
  • Tetracycline 5mg/4.5 litres of water.
  • Sulphadimidine 16% Sol.(8-10mlLt.Water).

 Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is caused by a group of protozoan germs called Trichomona. It spreads around through food, water and crop milk. The symptoms of the disease appear in three ways.

  • Germs affecting the throat area. A close investigation of the mouth and throat opening the beak, will reveal many pasty yellowish buttons inside.
  • Germs affecting abdominal area creates infectious boils under the skin.
  • Germs affecting the internal organs appear as infectious yellowish dots in the liver resulting in loose motions and tiredness.

Treatment

  • Metronidazole 40-60mg/kg/PO SID for five days.
  • Tinidazole/ Secnid-azole also can be used.

 Pigeon Maleria:

Pigeon Maleria is another protozoan disease spread around by pigeon fleas. When we examined the blood of a pigeon affected with pigeon Malaria we could find out crescent shaped germs inside the red corpuscles. But in the domesticated pigeons of our country the symptoms are not visible properly as the germs undergo a kind of unification with the red corpuscles. Still one could observe symptoms like blindness, paralysis of the legs twisting of the neck, tiredness and refusal of food.

Treatment

  • Choloroquine 5 mg/kg.
  • Buparvoquone 2.5 mg/kg.

 Ornithosis:

Ornithosis is a disease caused by clamedia germs and is spread to other pigeons through food, water and air. The main symptoms are refusal of food, infection in the eyes (often only in one eye), breathing difficulty and congested nose. Often eye-lids stick together and irritated pigeon starts to wipe its eyes using the wings. The sticky fluid in the eyes of the pigeon helps us to ascertain the presence of the diseases in the loft. Gradually a white coating appears on the eye and the pigeon might become totally blind.

Treatment

  • Doxycycline 25 mg/kg.P.O BID or 50 mg/kg.P.O once a day for three weeks.
  • Oxytetracycline (LA 200) 50mg/kg 1m one every 3-5 days.
  • Chlortetracycline/PO 15-25mg/pigeon/day or 1-1.5 gm/Lt. drinking water.
  • Tylosin 30gm 1kg.1M

 Pigeon Pox:

Pigeon Pox is rather similar to chickenpox. Small boils appear on the beak, eye lids, legs and all other places having less feathers. This is a viral disease and the main symptom is breathing difficulty. It is advisable to smear iodine or sulphur on the poxes. To minimize the other symptoms that are likely to follow, it is better to start antibiotic medicines consulting with a veterinary doctor. As a defensive treatment nobivac Pigeon Pox vaccine or chevikpok vaccine can be applied to legs or chest region of body removing the feathers and stretching the skin.

 Paramyxo Virus:

Paramyxo Virus disease affects the brain and nervous system of pigeons. Important symptoms are-paralysis of whole body on some parts of the body, twisting the neck, walking unsteadly and colliding against the walls while flying. The germs are spread through the contact with affected birds or through rats or fleas. No effective treatment for this disease is available so far. But the preventive injections are very common. Usually Nobivac Paramyxo Virus Vaccine is injected into the inner part of the skin at the back of the neck.

 Internal Worms:

Internal Worms. Pigeons affected with internal worms look tired and weak having loose motion and weight lose. A lab investigation of the excreta will reveal the presence of worms and medicines should be given at regular intervals.

Treatment

  • Albendazole (2.5%) 30-45ml/100 birds.
  • Piperazine 100-500mg/kg
  • Pyrantel pamoate 20mg/kg
  • Fenbendazole 20mg/kg

 External Worms

External Worms like louse, mite and fleas attack pigeons very often. Lack of cleanliness help them to multiply and to attack the pigeons, which may result in weakening the defensive system which may leads to death. Many effective medicines against these worms are available in the market which could be sprayed from the back of the pigeon raising the wings according to the directions of the manufactures.

 Cococidiosis

Cococidiosis attack the chicken very severely. Though they are present even in healthy pigeons their attack is not very severe in them. If the defensive mechanism of the bird is very weak, these germs get multiplied and affect the pigeon producing symptoms like loose motion with blood and refusal of food and it becomes tired and look lean. A lab test of the drippings will reveal the presence of cococidiosis germs.

Treatment

  • Amprolium 0.6gm/Lt.
  • Codrinal 4gm/Lt. for 5-7 days.

 Infections Corraiza

Infections Corraiza is rather area among pigeons from the eyes of the affected pigeon paste like discharge come out. These would be swelling on the head due to the inflamentation of the tear sacs. Fever, loose motion and nose watering are the other symptoms.