Yeast infection in pigeon? - Pigeon-Talk
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fred2344 fred2344 is offline
Posted 5th June 2002, 12:34 PM
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Location: New York , U.S.A.
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Yeast infection in pigeon?

Hi folks,
I have a pigeon with some symptoms that I've never seen before and was wondering if describing them to you might trigger the knowledge you have of yeast infections or for that matter, anything else.
This is a male adolescent pigeon that I picked up because he didn't look too well and was quite weak from starvation. The back of his neck is bald as is the front of the neck which might mean that a predator tried to grab him and then for whatever reason, dropped his prey. Since I have had the bird, some feathers have come in directly down the back of the center of the neck but the sides remain devoid of any feather growth. It doesn't mean that this attack happened. It could be for some other reason.
His feathering is terrible. It feels badly and the coloration is just not that of a healthy bird.
He has something that I have never seen before and that is absolutely huge and only slightly watery droppings. The color is right. His crop empties slowly and as I said, the droppings are huge. Originally, I thought peristalsis was slow from lack of nutrients in the system but it continues even though he has been on a regular diet of wholesome food and vitamins and minerals in the water.
Thinking that this might be a bacterial enteritis, I put him on antibiotics and gave him the medications for the standard internal parasitic infestations that can hit pigeons. Nothing that has been done that reduces the size of the droppings or the slowness of his crop.
There is one other symptom I would like to tell you about. Although he is not plucking, he can very quickly start to preen with a squeak coming out of his mouth as if there were something bothering him on the skin. He preens normally but many times he does exhibit this preening as if he is irritated by something. There are no external parasites on his body.
I'm stumped. This could be an obstruction in the digestive system and that might explain the large droppings and the slow crop but it doesn't really explain the missing feathers or his actions when he seems bothered by something on the skin.
Do any of these symptoms sound like a yeast infection to you? There are yeast infections that can exist subcutaneously but this is all guesswork on my part and frankly, I don't know what the next step should be.
So, if you could give me some input, I would be grateful.
"Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace."

Albert Schweitzer
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maryco maryco is offline
Posted 5th June 2002, 12:55 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Durham region, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,299
I don't know about other yeast infections in pigeons, but i had 2 pigeons that died from a yeast infection in their crops..... the crop never seemed to empty and there were no droppings at all, the pigeon seemed very puffy, dizzy, weak , drank ALOT of water and couldn't hardly stand...i took both of them to the rehab and they put them on antibiotics.
sadly it was too late for both of them and they died...

Hope your pigeon will begin to feel better soon!


[This message has been edited by maryco (edited June 05, 2002).]
raynjudy raynjudy is offline
Posted 5th June 2002, 01:32 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,300

You've likely forgotten more than I know, but here's my two cents.

I take it you don't want the "cat-scan" or "lab work" done? (Insider joke)

Antibiotics may actually promote a yeast infection.

Candida/Monilla (yeast) is always present, but its population in a healthy organism is usually held in check by an immune system up to the job. However, if the immune system is compromised, the yeast colonizes and begins to take over. The general term for the condition caused is "Thrush", which may be localized in the crop. The result can be a sour or slow crop.

The "Silver Bullet" for yeast infection is Nystatin. In aggressive yeast infection cases, it can be dosed at 100,000 units per day until symptoms abate. **

Nolvasan at 2 tsp/gal or Clorox "plain bleach" at 1 tsp/gallon of drinking water may clear up a mild yeast infection. **

Fred, I think the simplest approach for the feather problem would be to dust the bird with Sevin Dust--readily available at any garden center. Most hardware stores would have it. Try it twice in two weeks. If that fails, get some Permethrin dust--the "Silver Bullet" of dusts.


** A Veterinary Approach to Pigeon Health, by David marx, DVM (Racing Pigeon Digest Co., Inc., Lake Charles, LA, 1997).
fred2344 fred2344 is offline
Posted 5th June 2002, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: New York , U.S.A.
Posts: 924
The stuff the bird has gotten already is:
1) Powdered down for any external parasites
2) Baytril for 7 days
3) Appertex for coccidiosis
4) Spartrix for canker
5) Ivermec for worming and external
6) Cod liver oil and Brewers yeast
7) As of this morning, he is now on Nystatin
I'm completely stumped.
"Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace."

Albert Schweitzer
raynjudy raynjudy is offline
Posted 5th June 2002, 02:58 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,300
Hey, Fred:

Your post didn't mention dusting or Nystatin.

Anyway, it's a bit early for the Nystatin to work. We'll just have to see...

Which dust did you use?

Since pigeons don't ordinarily vocalize even excruciating pain, I'm wondering if the squeaking isn't a personal quirk of this bird?

WhiteWingsCa WhiteWingsCa is offline
Posted 6th June 2002, 04:54 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,107
aaaaggghhhh....!!!!!!! NOT CLOROX!!!!!!! peeve.....

From what I've seen/read, ANY Clorox now has an additive similar to lye....and is very very very harmful to the birds.

PLEASE use generic, "no name" bleach...nothing else!!!!!!!

Fred....have you used a dusting powder that covers both Mites and lice? Feather mites do exactly what you've described...the bird loses feathers around neck/chest. They can't easily be seen by the human eye, like lice can.

The large droppings have me stumped. Checked my "health diagnosis" site...there's nothing there that lists that. BUT.....a hen that has been sitting on the nest all night will do that in the it possible that just because this bird is listless and sitting a lot, it is causing this, I wonder (much like an invalid has constipation problems?)

We also ran into a big problem a few years back with knocking out the birds' immune systems with too many antibiotics (a futile but terrified effort to keep from losing all our young birds from an illness). We've since learned about over-medicating, and when we have to medicate, we make sure we replace the "good" bacteria in the birds' systems....try using a small amount of plain, unsweetened yogurt on his grains...enough to barely coat the seeds. Every 4 days or so, at first, then once a week for all your birds is good. OR, try a commercial pro-biotic (we use Biomoss from Chisholm Trial..great stuff...we've actually had birds that seemed to be developing an illness recover on their own by increasing the usage...we use it 3-4 times a week...some people use it daily)

If he's needing to gain some weight, add some honey to his water (we mix 2 tsp in HOT water, then dilute it in a gal of cold water for the loft). You can also mix some corn oil into his feed for added calories/fat content. Maybe once his system gets back "on track", and he feels a bit better, the gut will improve?
Wild Dove Wild Dove is offline
Posted 6th June 2002, 06:57 AM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 468
Dear Fred,
I'm a bit nervous about offering my two cents worth in such an accomplished group of pigeon rescuers...but here goes:

The large droppings and slow crop might be a sign of malabsorption, (the inability of the body to process the food/nutrients it is being given due to illness or prolonged emaciation). Very large droppings are often an indicator.
May I sheepishly suggest that you back off the solid food for now, and over the next two/three days implement an emaciation regime?
Start by giving him two-three feedings of an electrolyte solution, (pedialyte, etc.) to flush the system and give the body a "break" from having to digest solids. After that, two feedings of very thin Exact, (or whatever you are using for syringe feeding squabs)...mixed to 1/4 of normal thickness. Increase this over the next two feedings to 1/2 of normal thickness, then two feedings 3/4, then full. Monitor his droppings and crop motility during each increase...if the large droppings return and the crop slows down, back off to the last thickness for a couple of feedings, then try increasing again. If everything is normal at full, then reintroduce easy to digest seeds such as millet, wheat, and oats staying away from corn, legumes, and fatty seeds (sunflower, safflower). If all is well at this point, continue with a normal diet and see what happens.
It would not hurt to add the probiotic to the syringe mixture, and I agree with Terry that it would probably do good. Also, you might try adding a small amount of blended papaya to the syringe mixture, as papaya contains beneficial digestive enzymes.
Hope I have been of some help.
Wild Dove
raynjudy raynjudy is offline
Posted 6th June 2002, 11:05 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,300
Ordinarily, I recommend generic, plain bleach--no lemon scent, no nothing. In this case I was reading the text from Marx's book, as the ** indicates.

Anyway, the low down on Clorox seems to be as follows: They still do make a plain bleach, but its active vs. inert ingredients have been about doubled (this skews any measurement advice). Their other formulations include all kinds of additives and scents & stuff, that make them unsuitable for use in drinking water. Read more at:

My conclusion: It's a no brainer--use generic PLAIN CHLORINE BLEACH of no more than 6% active ingredient vs. inert ingredient, and save money and the hassle of reading all those blasted labels!

Recommended dilution is 1 tsp/gal of water; or two tsp in very hot conditions.

An excellent quick reference for pigeon health can be found at,, under Veterinary Tips (see scale at left on home page). On the vet page, the thirteenth item on the list of topics is called, "The Miracle Of Chlorine". The vet page features David Marx, DVM.

The link to the Canadian Racing Pigeon Union (CU) via the AU band page appears to be busted. I have advised AU administration about this and they have replied that they will tell the CU. As of today, it's still busted.

Thanks, WhiteWings, for reminding us about the Clorox thingy!


fred2344 fred2344 is offline
Posted 6th June 2002, 03:23 PM
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Location: New York , U.S.A.
Posts: 924
He got so much stuff that I forgot the powder. I use Extoban D from Foys. It's great powder. Basically it is an artificial pyrethrin and it kills just about everything on the bird except the bird. I swear by it. It comes from Foys.
You could be right about the squeaking being a personal trait because he is very verbal. I hope it is that.
"Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace."

Albert Schweitzer
fred2344 fred2344 is offline
Posted 6th June 2002, 03:35 PM
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Location: New York , U.S.A.
Posts: 924
White Wings,
This powder, Ectoban, kills everyhing from the pigeon fly to lice and mites. I never had a problem with it before with other birds and he came in bald around the neck area so the powder didn't do it.
I forgot about the Chlorox problem and thank you for reminding me about it. Let me ask you if Chlorox was used in a coop and then the area was thoroughly hosed down with plain water and I mean thourougly, would there still be a danger?
Constipation is a good thought. The thing is the droppings are slightly on the watery side but they are well formed, just huge. I gave him cod live oil tonight and if he is constipated, it should help. That is a good thought.
I've seen large droppings in the morning both from parrots and pigeons but this goes on all day.
Good bacterial counts drop when antibiotics are given and that includes Nystatin so he is going to get a probiotic soon.
He isn't losing weight but he isn't gaining any either. I may take your advice with honey and see what happens.
I think I responded to all your points, at least I hope I did.
Thank you very much for the input.
This may simply be a congenitally bad hatch with multiple problems and none of this may do any good. If they are born bad, I don't think it can be made better but he will get time to try to recover from whatever this or these problems are.
thanks again.
"Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace."

Albert Schweitzer
fred2344 fred2344 is offline
Posted 6th June 2002, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: New York , U.S.A.
Posts: 924
Wild Dove,
Please don't be bashful about offering suggestions. I'm telling you that this "accomplished" pigeon person is absolutely stumped with this bird so anything you suggest is just fine. More often than not, intuition can be better than any other type of knowledge.
I don't know if I mentioned it but from day one, he is on Pedalyte for electroltes. He has had mega vitamins put down him and I can't do it anymore because it could blow his kidneys.
You may be onto something about the inability to digest well causing larger droppings. I just don't know but it is an excellent thought. His crop does empty slowly. I figured that the vitamins and minerals geiven to him would accelerate the digestive process but never thought of Papaya which I know is an excellent aid to digestion. Honestly, he has gotten so much, I don't know if I should also give him Papaya. All I can say to you is that I will keep it in the back of my mind.
You have a good thought about the liquid food. Maybe I'll do that.
The important thing here is please don't be shy about coming into these discussions. Everything you said has a lot of merit so you are a lot better than you think you are.
"Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace."

Albert Schweitzer
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turkey turkey is offline
Posted 6th June 2002, 09:39 PM
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Location: Largo, Florida
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I don't know much about pigeons and I'm not much of a vitamin taker, but my husband says that taking a lot of vitamins can cause constipation.

raynjudy raynjudy is offline
Posted 6th June 2002, 10:33 PM
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Posts: 2,300
You said, "You could be right about the squeaking being a personal trait because he is very verbal. I hope it is that."

Leave it to you to get the Woody Allen of pigeons! This is definitely one for the book!

I'm following this closely, my friend. This little one worries me too.

WhiteWingsCa WhiteWingsCa is offline
Posted 7th June 2002, 04:31 AM
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Originally posted by fred2344:
Let me ask you if Chlorox was used in a coop and then the area was thoroughly hosed down with plain water and I mean thourougly, would there still be a danger?
Fred, I honestly can't answer that....all I know is that several pigeon sites I've seen, including an article by a veterinarian, says DO NOT use Chlorox at all, even to wash dishes, bowls, runs, etc....anything that the animals/birds might come into contact with.

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bigbird bigbird is offline
Posted 7th June 2002, 08:49 AM
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