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Romilly Romilly is offline
Posted 25th September 2002, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: London, UK
Posts: 13

You can treat Paramyxo (PMV)


Treatment for Paramyxo virus (PMV) symptoms

Surprisingly the symptoms of Paramyxo virus infection can be cleared up by treatment with Baytril. The concentration is 2.5% and 0.2 ml is given once daily by mouth for ten days. Nothing much happens for 7 days, after which recovery is dramatic.

I have treated four birds, in three cases with complete success. One had been totally incapacitated, lying sprawled on a hot water bottle for 6 weeks before I came across this treament. In the fourth case, after treatment the bird tossed her head back occasionally when feeding but otherwise was fully able to cope with life outside. Wet stools may persist for some time but appear to return to normal eventually (weeks to months). With two of my birds there was a long period of diarrhoea before that side of things returned to normal.

Recovery was not spontaneous - it was entirely due to the administration of Baytril. My first three birds languished for 6 weeks before treatment and, apart from learning workarounds to the problems of feeding, showed little or no sign of recovery.

Why it works is of course a bit of a mystery! Medics will know that antibiotics have no effect on viruses. A vet gave me Baytril because he thought that the disorientation might be due to an inner ear infection. Another vet later came up with the plausible suggestion that virus infections reduce the effectiveness of the immune system and so may open the way for opportunistic bacterial infection. With paramyxo this bacterial activity would affect the central nervous system. After treatment birds appear to acquire immunity and pass this on to their young - two of my cases paired up and none of the dozen or so offspring developed symptoms.


Paramyxo symptom checklist:

Disorientation - bird is unable to judge position of objects properly.
Loss of control over head and neck movements.
Stools consisting of a pool of clear liquid surrounding small amount of distinct solid matter.

Erratic flight with sudden changes in direction for no reason. Near objects (eg roofs) there is characteristic fluttering and hesitation as if bird is unconfident.
Misjudged landings.
In bad cases or under stress bird may crash almost immediately after takeoff; indoors a bird will crash into walls or back onto the floor.
Head shake - head movements appear exaggerated and stiff and are followed by a brief period of Parkinson-like tremor. The bird seems to have difficulty focusing on things.
Neck torsion - usually seen in worse cases. When the bird attempts to preen or feed it loses control of the movement and the neck twists over the back or under the chest. The head may even be held upside down.
Feeding problems - the bird cannot judge the position of food and/or loses control of its head and neck movements, the beak slipping sideways across the ground and missing the food altogether. Sometimes after a bird has successfully taken a food item the head is tossed back as if there is difficulty swallowing.

[This message has been edited by Romilly (edited September 25, 2002).]


WhiteWingsCa WhiteWingsCa is offline
Posted 25th September 2002, 09:56 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,107
if you check further, you will find that Paratyhpoid can often have VERY similar symptoms to PMV, including the neck torsion.

Parathyphoid is a bacterial infection, which CAN be treated by antibiotics.

Years and years of medical research have proven that viruses CANNOT be treated with antibiotics. If fact, over use of antibiotics...often to TRY and treat a virus, is what has lead to big problems today with drug-resistant bacteria.

PMV is often accompanied by secondary, bacterial infections. So, if you birds had secondary infections, then yes, they would have shown some improvement in condition after treatment with Baytril

If a bird recovers from PMV, it usually does so within a 6-8 week time period...so your birds would have been improving anyway, with or without treatment. And yes, they do seem to go from being very very sick to surprisingly healthier looking birds in a very short course.

Sorry to say, but the Baytril really had not a lot to do with it, other than maybe helping with secondary infections.

It is the PMV virus that affects the brain activity. A bird with PMV, without any secondary infection, always shows that classic neck torsion and loss of balance.

Your vets may have meant well, but they appear to not have any first hand experience with PMV....otherwise the one wouldn't have thought "inner ear infection", and the other one wouldn't have been offering "plausible suggestions". Unfortunately for our birds, not too many vets have a clue how to treat them....
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Feefo Feefo is offline
Posted 25th September 2002, 11:14 AM
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Country: United Kingdom
Location: UK
Posts: 11,327
Hi, Romilly and welcome to pigeons.com!

It is great to have someone else with experience of bringing pigeons through PMV in the group! Most people are terrified of the disease, but I followed the advice given on Pigeon Recovery, and all 5 of my PMV pigeons survived.

It's also good to have another UK member. I think there are only 4 of us. I live in Norfolk.

Thank you for the information on Baytril! One of my rescue pigeons recovered from PMV, but then appeared to have a relapse and has been falling over, twisting her neck etc ever since...but she IS otherwise happy! I was afraid of taking her to the vet in case he decided that she had to be euthenased because it is a notifiable disease, but I know somebody who can lay her hands on some Baytril and I will certainly give that a go!

As far as I remember Ray's pigeon Bernie was treated with Baytril as a "silver bullet" when he had a suspected PMV relapse and it worked with him!

Cynthia



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All beings are fond of themselves, they like pleasure, they hate pain, they shun destruction, they like life and want to live long. To all, life is dear; hence their life should be protected.

-Mahavira
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John_D John_D is offline
Posted 25th September 2002, 01:57 PM
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Country: United Kingdom
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Posts: 8,489
Hi Romilly....

Good to see you here

I think that, PMV being so little understood, any first hand experience with it is a valuable asset to we pigeon folk.

I believe that if something works, whether we understand why or not, then it can be only good.

After all - a hundred years ago, people with (today) treatable nervous disorders were locked away, because 'nothing worked' for them!

I'm in Sussex, by the way, so we are thinly spread here in the UK - but 3 more than we were a year ago

Best

John
(JayDee)
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John


"Pigeons know more than we think - and think more than we know" ~ John D.
Romilly Romilly is offline
Posted 25th September 2002, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: London, UK
Posts: 13
Reply to WhiteWingsCa

First, I should make it clear that I'm **suggesting** people could try Baytril because I have found it to work despite the fact that the condition is caused by a virus. I'm as puzzled as anyone else. It would be very interesting to have some other results as my sample is statistically small. Also, paramyxo causes distressing symptoms and my motive is to suggest help for owners who may otherwise watch a favorite suffering for weeks. And as my posting makes clear, I do know that viruses don't respond to antibiotics. Life is full of things that appear to go against the rules.

On individual points:

Yes, I know that the "nervous" form of salmonellosis (paratyphoid) can cause pmv-like symptoms. However, Ludwig Schrag in his book "Healthy Pigeons" writes that "in the nervous stage (torsion of the neck) there is no chance of a recovery" from salmonellosis (page 28 of the 5th edition). Also, the birds I treated did not have the characteristic faeces of the type shown on the same page. The faeces were typical of pmv and only became diarrhoea-like later - after antibiotic teatment. There was also none of the loss of physical condition or intestinal discomfort (as far as I know!) you'd expect with salmonella - see Schrag again. Nor were there any of the other symptoms listed by Schrag on p.27 despite the lengthy period when treatment wasn't available.

Ignorant if well-meaning vets: Indeed so, but at the same time I obtained a diagnosis from an internet veterinary advisory service provided, if I remember right, by the American Racing Pigeon Union. The vet cross-questioned me in two emails before saying he was certain it was paramyxo virus. He was emphatic - he said he was sure.

Spontaneous recovery within 6-8 weeks: With the first three birds I didn't obtain Baytril for about that period, so I agree that spontaneous recovery can't be ruled out - though Schrag's point about the impossibility of treatment of salmonellosis at the neck-torsion stage should be borne in mind: one of these three birds was a dire case - she couldn't hold her head up or straight at all. Then, two years later I was able to treat another bird that hadn't shown symptoms until just two days previous. She cleared up within ten days, ie 12 days after onset. This tends to link recovery to the treatment with antibiotic rather than otherwise.

Drug-resistant bacteria: Accepted, but witholding treatment from a favorite bird is hardly going to help an already dire situation. If the condition **is** caused by samonella then obviously an antibiotic could do the pigeon a lot of good, so all the more reason to try.
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Feefo Feefo is offline
Posted 25th September 2002, 02:23 PM
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Country: United Kingdom
Location: UK
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Hi Romilly,

I only became aware of online veterinary advice today. Did you have to pay or become a member of the organisation to recieve advice? If so, how much did it cost? Was the online vet happy to diagnose ferals? It sounds like a link that could prove useful in emergencies!

Cynthia

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Mary L Mary L is offline
Posted 25th September 2002, 02:46 PM
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Phoenix AZ
Posts: 31
It is of my opinion that the PMV of today has mutated to a less virulent strain then when it first appeared in the State's in the 80's. We had a very nice Jacobin come down with PMV in 95 and it took a good six months before the bird recovered enough to eat on her own. We also administered a 21 day course of baytril to ward of any opportunistic infections. The bird was completely paralyzed and her neck was so twisted that at times it was hard to tell which way it went. Keeping this bird alive became a family affair and both my husband and I took turns dropping grains down her throat as we didn't know how to tube feed at the time. We thought she had made a complete recovery but about 4 months later she had a relapse and succumbed to the disease. My advice is vaccinate your birds for PMV because this disease can be heartbreaking and it is a small price to pay for the health of your birds.

Mary
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Feefo Feefo is offline
Posted 25th September 2002, 03:44 PM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Country: United Kingdom
Location: UK
Posts: 11,327

Mary,

You're right and of course vaccination is essential. But the pigeons that Romilly treated were rescued ferals, so that was never an option.

The information that I have read on PMV doesn't ever mention relapses and yet this seems to be something that a few of us have experienced. My Feefo had her relapse about 6 months after recovery, but she has survived for over two years in all. There was a slight improvement last summer, when she was suddenly able to fly up to her perch, but then she got worse again. I just wish I could find some way of helping her!

Cynthia

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...while all the time your dear full-throated pigeons will be heard, and the turtledove high in the elm will never bring her cooing to an end. (Virgil)
Romilly Romilly is offline
Posted 26th September 2002, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: London, UK
Posts: 13
John -

Thanks for the welcome. We've met before, of course, and I'm going to put a link to your very nice site right here - http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~pidgie/index.htm - in case people haven't visited. Long live Pidgie and others we love who have gone.

Thanks for reminding me about this site. I visited about a year ago when it was under construction, put it in my favorites and - well, there are so many other things to do. I was very moved by the story of Red, the blind racing pigeon, and of a squab (Sara or another, I'm not sure) which I think one of the site owners raised until it could fly, and felt it was going to be a nice, pigeon-friendly site and not snooty about wild pigeons. It's quite a challenge to imagine what the world is like for a blind-from-birth bird, and I've often thought about Red.

Anyway, here I am dipping my toes into a contentious subject on which opinions are obviously going to vary. Do hope your work allows you some day to have more delightful guests on your balcony.
Romilly Romilly is offline
Posted 26th September 2002, 07:45 AM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: London, UK
Posts: 13
Cynthia -

Thanks for your welcome too. Only four of us in the uk - oh dear. There's a lot of nasty, frighteningly irrational prejudice about, maybe that's why.

Re the online veterinary advice I received. I'm not absolutely certain it was ARPU because I can't locate the correspondence - the emails may even be on an old computer which I don't really have time to go fishing about in. I checked the ARPU site before replying to Whitewings (see above) but it wasn't at all clear how you got beyond the first page (!!), there was no mention of online advice AND it crashed my computer twice. If I do find out who it was I'll post it up, but I must have been very lucky to get the advice, presumably intended for owners of valuable racing birds!

The couple or so links this site has for medical advice look useful - reached via the Emergency care and treatment link on the Index (home) page. I'm sure you've seen them. The Chevita diagnostic list looks very useful and I shall be using it myself. It's not clear how the "Contact a veterinarian trained in avian medicine or post questions on Pigeon-Talk" link works as all that happens is you end up in the discussion forums main page. Maybe the site owners will clarify that one. It would indeed be useful to have online experienced advice. I'd be prepared to pay, maybe in the form of an annual insurance-type premium. Upper leg breaks need skilful veterinary attention - I had one bird who was delighted after a cleverly inserted pin fixed a horrible break.

Otherwise I use Schrag's book (Healthy Pigeons, 5th English edition, Schober Verlags-GmbH 1985), which in the uk can be bought from Nigel Cowood, nigel@gringley.demon.co.uk, for 8, including post. It's not the greatest book and the english is pretty awful but pigeon people apparently swear by it. It became necessary to have a reference book when I decided to keep a bird - born in my study to two of my treated wild birds - as a domestic pet. He's a little charmer and I wouldn't want to be caught out if something happens.
WhiteWingsCa WhiteWingsCa is offline
Posted 27th September 2002, 03:43 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,107
Romilly:

Of course, you should always try your utmost to help a bird recover. And Baytril, as mentioned, appears to be a "silver bullet" in cases that are treatable by antibiotics, including the secondary infections that can attack a bird already in a weakened condition. A bird with PMV that is suffering from further illness of course is going to take a LOT longer to recover than one that has PMV alone.

I never meant to say that you should't use antibiotics....simply that no one should expect an antibiotic to "cure" PMV, because it won't, and that is how your post came across.

Treating with Baytril will help it get stronger, so it can fight off the virus. The Baytril is not killing the virus...it is simply helping the bird with the secondary infections, which will obviously speed recovery.

Birds can and do recover from Paratyphoid. However, they can remain carriers for the rest of their lives, so having them in a loft puts the whole loft and future generations at risk. PMV recovered birds are NOT carriers. However, they can, when under stress, display the classic neck torsion from time to time...a residual nervous affect from the virus. They don't necessarily have PMV again.

We've experienced the pain of PMV in our lofts. Lost 1/2 a young bird team one year from it. Antibiotics did absolutely NOTHING...and trust me, we tried everything.

Some great sites (with several articles written by vets who specialize in pigeons) are: <A HREF="http://www.comanco.com/understa.htm" TARGET=_blank> http://www.comanco.com/understa.htm[/url]
http://www.comanco.com/selected.htm
http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/dise...se/pigeons.htm
http://www.mainebiolab.com/text/7807list.html

http://www.chevita.com/tauben/e-index3.html


[This message has been edited by WhiteWingsCa (edited September 27, 2002).]
Romilly Romilly is offline
Posted 28th September 2002, 03:24 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: London, UK
Posts: 13
Whitewings -

Thanks for a considerate reply . . . gives me the chance to set things straight because I do realize I pitched it a bit strong. Ill-advisedly, I titled the thread "You can cure Paramyxo" partly because that's what I was told it was, partly to attract attention (I'd been reading a lot of unhappy stuff on the forum about it) and partly because of the need to keep the title short. Inside I put it a little more in terms of "symptoms". I wasn't anticipating I'd get shot down in flames!!!

Here goes.

Above all I 100% accept that antibiotics are ineffective against viruses. We all know that, but I agree my post suggested the contrary. I hope I mitigated that a bit by going on to say "Why it works . . . is a bit of a mystery . . . Medics will know that antibiotics have no effect on viruses."

I accept that the suggested explanation that the antibiotic may be killing a secondary bacterial infection is a bit of a straw in the wind and that the PM virus is quite capable of producing the CNS/disorientation symptoms on its own, without any help from bacteria.

And of course the obvious explanation has to be that all four birds were suffering from paratyphoid.

Now (with your help) I've pulled my case apart I'll try to assemble things in a more fastidous way!

Over two years four birds came into my care with disorientation symptoms. These were such that an experienced pigeon vet diagnosed them as Paramyxo. He must have considered paratyphoid; I have no idea what I wrote that made him rule it out. At the time I knew nothing about either, so my description is unlikely to have influenced him one way or the other. All I can add is that the first three birds, despite being left untreated for six weeks (I was doing jury service part of the time!), looked very healthy for such a long period with paratyphoid! I'm not saying it couldn't have been paratyphoid, just that I'm surprised.

So here's my recast message . . .

A pet or special bird develops the symptoms listed in my first posting. Basically there are two alternatives: PMV or salmonella. So you can't really go wrong using antibiotic - give it a try. If it clears up, yes, you have to assume it's salmonella. It would be good to have some feedback from people with similar experiences to mine. Check the faeces carefully and give details: it may be the only way to distinguish without tests. List all the other symptoms you see.


That corrective nod in the direction of scientific rationality out of the way, I still find myself intrigued! Symptoms that had an expert saying it was definitely pmv shows you shouldn't diagnose by email? Schrag's statement that in the nervous stage/type of paratyphoid, with neck torsion, "there is no chance of a recovery" - another expert wrong? Four birds that otherwise appeared to be in reasonable to very good health with no emaciation or other symptoms of the various forms of paratyphoid. Mmm. Puzzles **have** to be good - for us and for science!

Whitewings, I hope that sorts it out.
iffan iffan is offline
Posted 28th September 2002, 03:48 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 63
I have a personal friend that had 100 english trumpeters in his care a few years back. PMV hit his loft and in a few days 20 were in the bucket and others were coming down with symptons, it was too late to do much when you havent vac for PMV, so to make long story short, he took all of his best birds (bout 20), hand fed them, watered them, and in 2 months all were healthy again, so here is proof that you can overcome PMV. I know many more that have nurtured a bird afflicted with PMV from near death to life. ALSO one quick note, give your birds a yearly PMV vaccination.
WhiteWingsCa WhiteWingsCa is offline
Posted 28th September 2002, 04:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,107
Romilly:

Glad we sorted that out Sometimes it's hard to really say what you want in writing...I know there's been times I've deleted an entire post before I hit the "send" button, because I just couldn't seem to word it right... lol

PMV is an ugly, ugly disease. Survivable, yes, but a long hard haul, as you know. The more we can educate each other about it, and how to treat it (or not treat it), the better off our birds will be.

Iffan:

I've heard that if you have a bird come down with PMV, it can, in some cases, be beneficial to vaccinate any remaining birds, as long as they aren't displaying symptoms.

Everybody:

The best way to avoid PMV is to a) vaccinate, and b) NEVER ever let strange birds into the general population of your loft. We did once. Found the owner of the bird, he said "keep it if you like it", so we did. Hadn't vaccinated our young birds yet....within a week, the "stray" was dead...3 weeks later, so were most of our youngsters. Now NOTHING gets into our loft that doesn't live there. We net strays, and keep them in an isolated cage until we find the owner and return it. New birds brought in are quarantined for 30 days. Just isn't worth the heartache.....
 

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avian medicine, bacterial infection, bacterial infections, pigeon union, racing pigeon, racing pigeon union, wild bird, wild pigeon, wild pigeons, young bird



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