Young Bird season (and Show season) tests the undeveloped immune system of our birds and many are bound to get sick, so make a plan to stay ahead of the game– build up their immune system and gut flora well before the first race or show. It’s also good practice to keep a few basic medications in your cabinet for the birds that have to be pulled out of your loft (the favorite go-to is Tony’s Treasures).
Pigeons are susceptible to a number of diseases, two of which can present neurological symptoms such as spinning and head twisting. Both Paramyxovirus (PMV) and Paratyphoid share common symptoms and it can sometimes be difficult to tell the two apart.
PMV is the most likely culprit for birds showing neurological symptoms. Birds are often unable to eat and drink due to their physical instability. PMV also affects the kidneys so birds drink excessively when they can and can have very loose droppings. It is not necessarily fatal so with proper care and observation, your birds can survive it.
Responding to Paramyxovirus:
- Because PMV is a virus, it is unable to be treated/cured with medicine.
- Remove birds that are showing symptoms. If supportive care is to be given, make sure food and water is within reach and monitor weight, birds may need to be tube fed.
- Treat any secondary infections with antibiotics. *Some fanciers suggest using Enrofloxin for 10 days along with DMG 15 for 21 days to birds showing symptoms, 10 days for the rest of the flock – this rules out Paratyphoid and eliminates E.coli infection.
- Vaccinate birds in loft with La Sota Vaccine by administering in the drinking water. This vaccine has a rapid titer/immune response, although offers only a temporary immunity for about 4-6 months. Observe the remaining birds in the loft and continue to remove birds that show symptoms.
Paratyphoid, sometimes called Salmonella, is a bacterial infection which can cause loss of appetite, diarrhea / green slimey droppings (sometimes with blood), increased thirst, stiffening of the joints (they may be unwilling to fly). Chronic Salmonella can affect the birds internal organs, as well as visible swelling of the wing and leg joints. Sometimes neurological symptoms can present. At this stage, Paratyphoid is very likely fatal, and occurs quickly.
In either case, immediately provide immunostimulants and probiotics as well as electrolytes (to combat dehydration). Remember, if you jump to treat your entire team with medicine, birds who are not clinically sick are now brought down and out of condition. Observation is key. Also, this is a great time to disinfect the loft and your crates.
To treat Paratyphoid:
- Remove young birds in your team that are already showing symptoms, and treat using Enrofloxin, also make sure to provide a liver support supplement (Lewerstim and/or DMG 15).
- Observe the remaining birds in the loft. If other birds seem to be getting ill, treat with Amoxicillin and/or Furaltadone. Also consider Avio’s Typhoid Cure or Chevita’s Furazolidon
- If many birds in the loft are sick, treat the whole loft with Enrofloxin/ Lewerstim and/or DMG 15.
- Some fliers suggest vaccinating all remaining non-symptomatic birds in the loft (KM-1 Salmonella Vaccine), while continuing to remove any birds that present symptoms
*photo credit chevita.com