Respiratory condition looking like PMV? (Icarus) - Pigeon-Talk
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 12th October 2019, 10:55 AM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 226
Hi all,

I found a pigeon last Thursday who I thought would be a goner. He was on the ground with wings out, clearly off balance and alone. I doubt he would have been able to get up high when night arrived.

My immediate thought was PMV. I carried him home (lugging a 20kg suitcase with me up hill: it was FUN!) and he was very thin and placid. I noticed that one eye was watery and didn't look good, and I wondered if maybe it could be respiratory instead.

I took him to my pigeon vet a couple of hours later and the vet couldn't see any particular sign of PMV. He didn't know what was wrong exactly. I didn't think the bird would survive so I named him a rather doomed name. It was up to me whether we euthanized given the state of him or we gave him a chance. My vet is a lover of lost causes and I don't pick birds up only to euthanize so we gave it a shot. I went off with a prescription for 7 days of Baytril injected direct into the muscle (this is not common, but the bird was so bad my vet wanted him getting the drug directly) and eye drops. I was to feed him a bit via syringe because he was so thin, then see if he could feed himself. I am giving him a probiotic as well.

Well, he survived the first night. The next day, he was also doing very well. And he was perfectly able to feed himself. That evening and night, however, he had a lot of muscular contractions and things that again looked like PMV. I was messaging with the vet and describing what I was seeing, he said it sounded like PMV. The next night was better but with similar twitching. It seemed to be worse with the light on.

Now, of course Baytril doesn't work on a virus. Since the first couple of nights, we have now gone over a week and Icarus is not twitching nor showing any PMV-like symptoms at all. His nostrils were a bit gummed up, which again leads me to think it's something respiratory.

I hadn't expected to be able to release him but honestly, looking at him now I'm inclined to wait another week and fatten him up some more (he's an adult and was 206 grams when I found him) and then release him. I will be checking in with the vet and potentially taking him for another visit before doing so.

Does anyone have an idea of a respiratory illness this could be, that affects eyes/nose and causes balance issues and twitching etc? Alternatively, is it possible that it IS PMV but that he got supportive care in time for it to avoid the worst neurological damage? If PMV is still possible, then of course I would keep him with me significantly longer to ensure he doesn't spread the virus to other birds (5 more weeks). I prefer not to do that to him unless I'm sure it's a real risk, though.

Last edited by Hekie; 12th October 2019 at 10:57 AM..
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Marina B Marina B is offline
Posted 12th October 2019, 10:05 PM
Join Date: May 2011
Country: South Africa
Location: Lamberts Bay
Posts: 2,363
I've only cared for 1 pigeon with PMV. Her symptoms were the worst by week 6, horrible seizures. After that, she became better. So my advice, keep him for longer. Stress also triggers the symptoms, so you can do a test by moving him to a new area in the room and check how he reacts to that. If he starts spinning in circles, or throw the head to the back, then you know it must be PMV.
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 16th October 2019, 01:58 AM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 226
Thanks MarinaB. I've been watching him these past days and think I'm going to release him. I've spoken to the vet and he re-affirmed that he hadn't seen signs of PMV and in the absence of those, better he be freed. I'll take him out for a practice flight during the weekend before deciding anything for sure.

I'm interested in whether anyone knows if the virus always progresses in the same manner and all birds go through the head twisting etc or whether it's possible to get a milder version of it. I've seen no signs of anything like it since day 1 or 2 and as I say, given the state of her respiratory system and one eye in particular, it's possible the signs were of that instead.
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Marina B Marina B is offline
Posted 16th October 2019, 05:26 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Country: South Africa
Location: Lamberts Bay
Posts: 2,363
I've read somewhere that a inner ear infection can also cause them to be off balance and show neurological symptoms. If he had that, the meds would have helped. Can you mark him with a white dot on the breast maybe, so you can recognize him after releasing?
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 20th October 2019, 09:18 AM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 226
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marina B View Post
I've read somewhere that a inner ear infection can also cause them to be off balance and show neurological symptoms. If he had that, the meds would have helped. Can you mark him with a white dot on the breast maybe, so you can recognize him after releasing?
That's a very good point, MarinaB. An ear infection would certainly affect balance.

I took him out last week for a fly and it wasn't as obvious as I thought that ges 100% now. He flies fine and there was nothing obvious, however it didn't feel right. However, we went out again today and I think he's ready. There is rain forecast for this week so I'll wait until later in the week.

I could mark him, but I found him 20 mins away from my apartment and I want to release him to his own flock since he's an adult and he might have a partner etc. So once I release him, I won't see him again.
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Hekie Hekie is offline
Posted 27th October 2019, 10:24 AM
Join Date: Apr 2018
Country: Spain
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 226
I released Icarus on Thursday morning. All went well.
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Marina B Marina B is offline
Posted 28th October 2019, 08:22 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Country: South Africa
Location: Lamberts Bay
Posts: 2,363
Good, thanks for the update.
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