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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

This concerns a sick pigeon in my feral flock. He is a fully adult pigeon, but a young adult, who has feathered feet and is absolutely tiny – 260 gms. He's not skinny, he's just very small. He’s been with the flock for only a couple of months and was very shy initially, but rightly noticed that I have a soft spot for him, so very quickly started eating out of my hand and became confident enough to try to take on every pigeon who’d come near him or me.

Well, I noticed he is very bald around the beak, but he was feisty, had a great appetite and his droppings looked great, so I didn’t think much of it until one day he came and I noticed there was water dripping out of his beak and he was dropping the seeds he was trying to eat. He’s an extremely avid eater however, so he still left that day with his crop very full. The next day he had a really hard time picking up seeds, he also couldn’t close his mouth completely, so I caught him and sure enough he had quite a sizable yellow nodule inside his lower beak. I started hand feeding him and on Metronidazole 50mg once a day, and by the second dose the nodule was already getting smaller. On the third day it was smaller still and when I was hand feeding him frozen peas it detached by itself without bleeding. So I thought “great”, but noticed that he wasn’t eating by himself when I wasn’t feeding him. Well stupidly enough, I had not really looked carefully enough in his throat, and when I did with a flashlight, I saw two more yellow growths, one of which was kind of brownish. His poop looked perfect from the beginning and still looks fine. His crop empties in good time and his breath smells fine. I could take him to a pigeon rehabber for a more thorough check up and also to ask for Spartrix or Rodinazole, but I don’t want to stress him if I don’t have to, as he has taken very badly to being caged as it is (he’s in a good sized guinea pig/rabbit cage).

He has been on metronidazole for 6 days now, so I’d like to ask whether I should continue it as it seems to be working, or try to obtain another zole, as I’ve heard that treating with two different ones is recommended to eradicate the organism completely and avoid resistance.

As always, all your feedback is eagerly anticipated and gratefully accepted.

Many thanks,
Eva
 

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I would continue with the Metronidazole until 10 days, even if it clears before that. I would see no value in switching or using something else concurrently if the meds are doing their job.

I remember a case we had where Spartrix alone did not resolve the problem, and we used Metronidazole along with it. I believe it was simply that Carnidazole just wasn't effective enough against a really tough case of Canker.
 

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Hi Eva,

I agree as John says, continue for a lot longer with the Metrodoniazole. Canker can be very stubborn.
I don't know what anyone else thinks about giving something else like Baytril just in case he has a secondary infection of some kind going on.
I have given Spartrix previously when I hadn't got Flagyl but it doesn't seem to tackle the canker as well as Flagyl so I'd definitely keep that going for at least 10/14 days.

Janet
 

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Hello,

This concerns a sick pigeon in my feral flock. He is a fully adult pigeon, but a young adult, who has feathered feet and is absolutely tiny – 260 gms. He's not skinny, he's just very small. He’s been with the flock for only a couple of months and was very shy initially, but rightly noticed that I have a soft spot for him, so very quickly started eating out of my hand and became confident enough to try to take on every pigeon who’d come near him or me.

Well, I noticed he is very bald around the beak, but he was feisty, had a great appetite and his droppings looked great, so I didn’t think much of it until one day he came and I noticed there was water dripping out of his beak and he was dropping the seeds he was trying to eat. He’s an extremely avid eater however, so he still left that day with his crop very full. The next day he had a really hard time picking up seeds, he also couldn’t close his mouth completely, so I caught him and sure enough he had quite a sizable yellow nodule inside his lower beak. I started hand feeding him and on Metronidazole 50mg once a day, and by the second dose the nodule was already getting smaller. On the third day it was smaller still and when I was hand feeding him frozen peas it detached by itself without bleeding. So I thought “great”, but noticed that he wasn’t eating by himself when I wasn’t feeding him. Well stupidly enough, I had not really looked carefully enough in his throat, and when I did with a flashlight, I saw two more yellow growths, one of which was kind of brownish. His poop looked perfect from the beginning and still looks fine. His crop empties in good time and his breath smells fine. I could take him to a pigeon rehabber for a more thorough check up and also to ask for Spartrix or Rodinazole, but I don’t want to stress him if I don’t have to, as he has taken very badly to being caged as it is (he’s in a good sized guinea pig/rabbit cage).

He has been on metronidazole for 6 days now, so I’d like to ask whether I should continue it as it seems to be working, or try to obtain another zole, as I’ve heard that treating with two different ones is recommended to eradicate the organism completely and avoid resistance.

As always, all your feedback is eagerly anticipated and gratefully accepted.

Many thanks,
Eva

I would say 10 to 14 days. how did you catch the bird if he is in a feral flock.?:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all for the quick replies. I'll stay with the metronidazole as you say for 14 days.

Another question: I was wondering if I need to give probiotics after that course like with other antibiotics. Not sure but I think I remember most beneficial flora being aerobic, while metronidazole is absorbed by anaerobes and protozoans, right? Or should I just do it anyway since it can't hurt?

Amyable, I too was also wondering about the Baytril, but other than the canker he seems fine, and he's just such a tiny bird, I don't want to medicate him unless he really needs it, so I've been holding off for the moment.

how did you catch the bird if he is in a feral flock.?:)
I've been feeding the same flock of pigeons at my window for a while now, and most eat out of my hand and do not mind being touched, so catching anyone of them is no problem at all. I should have caught this one earlier.
 

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Hi Eva,

Good on you for catching this little one and noticing the canker! She sounds so cute and pretty:) I agree with the others that it sounds like metronidazole is the right medicine for it, and you are doing great. With bad canker, I've sometimes needed a full two weeks to clear it up, but it does clear up in the end thankfully.

This may or may not apply to your flock, but every pigeon I've helped with bad canker in the past year also had a worm infestation, especially the smaller birds. Worm infestations can be deceptive ,too, in that the droppings can look perfect. Anyway it wouldn't hurt to give your bird a safe wormer in a few days time, if she looks healthy and on the mend.
 

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Just to say if a bird had a case of canker and it went away in a few days continue the medication because the virus might still be there as it is weakened. If you medicate it and stop and it comes back it could be possible that it developed an immunity to that medication because you have treated it and it was still there so this could happen. Not sure as I had not dealt with canker before in pigeons.

Lucas
 

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I had a bird with canker that took 14 days to totally clear. It sometimes takes a while. Metronidazole usually works really well for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for that info Bella, I was wondering about worming too. Now I'll definitely worm him /her. Some pigeons in my flock eat quite little - about 50 grams of seeds, while others consume their weight daily in food. All look healthy, but I don't know what to make of that - is it simply an individual difference or could it be due to worms. This little one is one of those who just eat and eat and eat. He's not emaciated, but is quite lean.

Any recommendations for a gentle but effective wormer?
 

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Dear Eva,

Worms are pretty normal with the wild ones but they seem to get better at managing them as they get older for some reason. I have a few here that I wormed as sick young adults several years ago and they are still doing well in the wild, so I expect it is worth worming them even if they get re-exposed to worm eggs.

There's a few good, safe, wormers to choose from, fortunately. I personally normally use Moxidectin because its the only wormer that doesn't put them off their food or make them feel like throwing up. Its regarded as a more advanced version of Ivermectin (also a good wormer), with better effectiveness. I get it from a local Avian Vet. Moxidectin (like Ivermectin) is interesting in that you can apply the wormer externally instead of internally and it works just as well (going on personal experience), and unlike most wormers it takes care of external parasites.

I've also used Levimisole, Praziquantel, and combinations of those on very sick birds. They were excellent and effective.

Theres a lovely member here named Msfreebird who uses pyrantal palmonate. She says its very gentle and safe. I bought some from my local drugstore, but haven't used it yet.

PS. How is she looking today?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you for all this very useful information, Bella.

The little one was very happy to spend most of today out of his cage in the company of the other pigeons on the other side of the window. I did notice some sneezing throughout the day today, but I'll wait till tomorrow before getting officially worried. He can pick up seeds without a problem now, but I still hand feed him once a day, to make sure he's not staying hungry. I’m not sure it’s necessary, but he’s such a tiny pigeon that I’m afraid he can starve very quickly if he’s not eating enough by himself. I’ll do the worming in a few days – maybe that will help to put some weight on him too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well it’s been day 11 of metronidazole treatment and the canker is still not completely gone, but little Jetty eats on his own quite well.

He gets very bored/depressed in his cage and even had me worried, because he was being so uninterested in anything. The only time he comes alive in his cage is when I scratch his head, which he very diligently turns to make sure no spot is missed. So now I cage him only at night and when I'm not there, because once he's out, he’s a different pigeon - he goes flying around and exploring everywhere, pecks at everything and generally behaves like a baby. I finally figured out why he keeps overturning his water bowl several times a day – he’s trying to take a bath. I gave him a bath dish and he immediately jumped in. I couldn’t resist taking some pictures. I wasn’t keen on him bathing, with all the sneezing I’ve been hearing even during the night, but I warmed the room to 80F and he’s actually been sneezing less today.

On Monday I’ll take him to the pigeon rehab people to check his canker after the 14 days of metronidazole and to get a wormer as Bella suggested.

Here are some pictures of Jetty in all his bald glory, pre and post bath.
 

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Oh, how cute. Bet he loved his bath.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
He really did - he stayed in the water for 15 minutes, came out then went back in again. The previous pigeon I was looking after had no interest in taking baths at all, which is why I didn't think to offer this one a bath earlier.
 

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Its so nice he feels well enough to bath:) This does seem to be a stubborn case of canker....are the nodules not quite disappearing , something like that?
 

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Its so nice he feels well enough to bath:) This does seem to be a stubborn case of canker....are the nodules not quite disappearing , something like that?
Well enough AND comfortable enough, many other pigeons would be just too afraid to take a bath in a strange place where these huge creatures are watching them. :)

If the canker isn't totally gone after 14 days, maybe you should switch to another medication, if possible?
 

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Canker has become more resistant to all the drugs we have become accustomed to using.I have had good results with metronidazole too but there have been times when I have had to use both metronidazole and spartrex to get the canker under control. What I do if there is a lot of canker in the mouth and throat, is make a thin paste, out of the spartrex and very gently, so has not to dislodge and of the canker nodules,paint the nodules with the spartrex. It does make a big difference.
 

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Canker has become more resistant to all the drugs we have become accustomed to using.I have had good results with metronidazole too but there have been times when I have had to use both metronidazole and spartrex to get the canker under control. What I do if there is a lot of canker in the mouth and throat, is make a thin paste, out of the spartrex and very gently, so has not to dislodge and of the canker nodules,paint the nodules with the spartrex. It does make a big difference.

Can you do that with the Metronidazole as well?
 

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Jay, I never have but next time I see a severe case I'll try it, although I hope I never see another severe case. I hate canker.
 
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