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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Noticed one of my Charley's today has this going on:






This is a very shy bird and he always hides when I'm near so I probably haven't had a good look at him in awhile. I just happened to catch a glance as I went by and he didn't see me, then I had to catch him which took forever and left us both with mild heart attacks. I tried to do a search for pox but the word is too short, which is kind of annoying!

This guy is otherwise quite healthy and heavy. He is older (seven or so), and half homer, and has the rough rims around the eyes, and one of those beaks that the older homers tend to get--hard to describe--covered in the white, rough flesh. That is how it usually looks, getting bigger and whiter each year. Somewhat like Homer:



I checked ALL the other birds carefully and none have any signs of anything like this. The part where it is red is usually covered by the thick, white rough skin and is kind of peeling off a bit in those places. It is almost as if the rough white skin is being rubbed off or he was cornered and pecked by another bird. I vaccinated for pox last year but it is time again, can it show up that fast? And what causes it? Haven't had any new birds since Condorito came and she's healthy as a horse and in another aviary to boot. I put neosporin on him, and he's certainly not acting sick at all.

Sooo....can anyone tell me what I'm looking at here? Trip to the vet? Thanks for the help.
 

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The rough white skin may well be a result of mites....it can also be Pox. The other sure does look like Pox.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The extra tough white skin on the cere seems to form on older homers that I have, but not any of the other birds, so I thought it was just a homer thing. I use diatomaceous earth and haven't had any mite problems in a long time. Just looking at the pox vaccine online, they want $60 shipping for a $12 vaccine. :eek: Can I treat pox? I seem to recall there's no treatment but to vaccinate the other birds immediately.
 

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Maryjane,

It looks kinda poxy. Until you can verify that it is or isn't pox, act as though it is. Your are right, there is no treatment for pox. Get him quarantined right away. Pox will run it's course. You can dab some dilute betadine on the pustules and keep a good eye on him for any possible secondary infections. Hopefully his immune system will fight it off eventually. If it is pox, it is very very contagious. It could be something else as well. In that case, a little betadine won't hurt. The rough white ceres and wattle are normal in some breeds as the pigeons age. Check inside his mouth to see if there are any pox lesions in there. Really hand wash well after handling him. Hopefully someone who has dealt with pox will be along with more info for you. If it is pox, it is probably from a mosquito bite.

Margaret
 

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The extra tough white skin on the cere seems to form on older homers that I have, but not any of the other birds, so I thought it was just a homer thing. I use diatomaceous earth and haven't had any mite problems in a long time. Just looking at the pox vaccine online, they want $60 shipping for a $12 vaccine. :eek: Can I treat pox? I seem to recall there's no treatment but to vaccinate the other birds immediately.
maryjane,

I'm so sorry to hear about the pox. You have gotten some excellent advice, and you can give the ones who are effected, a soft gel garlic cap everyday (slicked down in a drop of Neem oil), it will help them keep their immune system in optimum condition as well as fight any harmful bacteria, and the smell has a way of keeping other critters/parasites away.

As far as the popcorn effect, I have one elderly bird who I renamed Orville, because it is humongous :p, but it is very soft tissue to the touch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you, I will try that, already have the Neem oil. :) Orville is a great name, I haven't touched the white part before on them but it always looks rough. I'll have to go pet Homer and see. :p This Charley guy is a slappin', whappin' kinda fella and would like to take my head off lol. I'm glad to see the fight in him.

Can parrots get pox too? I want to quarantine him in my room but I have my parrot, 'tiel and parakeets in here and don't want them to get sick. He is separated already in his own cage in the living room but my room would be preferable.
 

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http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10370_12150_12220-26362--,00.html

Description



Avian pox is a mild to severe, slow developing disease of birds caused by an avipoxvirus and three common strains have been identified. The three strains are fowl pox virus, pigeon pox virus and canary pox virus. The strains vary in their virulence and have the ability to infect other avian species. However, many of the strains are group specific. Approximately sixty species of birds from 20 families have been diagnosed with avian pox. The strain seen in wild turkeys is the fowl pox virus.




Avian pox lesions (wart-like growths) occur on the unfeathered parts of the bird's body and, in some cases, the mouth, larynx, and/or trachea.



Distribution



Avian pox has been observed in a variety of avian hosts worldwide. The disease is most common in the temperate (warm and humid) parts of the world and is usually observed in relation to seasonal mosquito cycles. Avian pox has been diagnosed in upland game birds, songbirds (mourning doves and finches), marine birds, pet birds (canaries and parrots), chickens, turkeys, occasionally raptors and rarely in waterfowl. In Michigan, it has been diagnosed in the brown-headed cowbird, American goldfinch, ruffed grouse, mourning dove, broad-winged hawk, common raven, wild turkey, trumpeter swan, bald eagle, house sparrow, American robin, European starling, sandhill crane and American crow. Avian pox has been identified in birds since earliest history but it is still currently considered to be an emerging viral disease. All North American cases have been relatively recent.



Transmission



Transmission of the avian pox virus can occur in a number of ways. The disease can be spread via mechanical vectors, primarily by species of mosquitoes (at least 10). Transmission occurs when the mosquito feeds on an infected bird that has a viremia (pox virus circulating in the blood) present or on virus-laden secretions from a pox lesion and then feeds on an uninfected bird. Mosquitoes can harbor and transmit the virus for a month or longer after feeding on an infected bird. Experimentally, stable flies have shown the capability of being able to transmit the pox virus.



Avian pox can also be transmitted by direct contact between infected and susceptible birds. The virus is transmitted through abraded or broken skin or the conjunctiva (mucous membrane covering the anterior surface of the eyeball). Indirect transmission of the pox virus can also occur via ingestion when food and water sources, feeders, perches, cages, or clothing are contaminated with virus-containing scabs shed from the lesions of an infected bird. The pox virus is highly resistant to drying and may survive months to years in the dried scabs. Indirect transmission can also occur via inhalation of pox virus infected dander, feather debris and air-borne particles.



Mosquitoes are probably responsible for transmission within local areas, while wild birds are responsible for outbreaks over greater distances.



Clinical Signs



Clinical signs observed with avian pox are weakness, emaciation, difficulty in swallowing and breathing, vision problems, a reduction in egg production, soiled facial feathers, conjunctivitis, edema of the eyelids and the presence of the characteristic wart-like growths on the unfeathered portions of the skin and/or formation of a diphtheritic membrane on the upper portion of the digestive tract.



Pathology



Avian pox occurs in 2 forms, cutaneous (dry) and diphtheritic (wet). The cutaneous form is the most commonly observed and is a self-limiting infection with the lesions regressing and forming scars. Initially, this form of pox appears as a small white, pink or yellow vesicle (blister) on unfeathered parts of the skin (feet, legs, base of the beak, eye margins and head). The vesicle is a result of the separation of the surface layer of the skin with the formation of pockets of watery fluid rich in multiplying virus. The vesicles become nodules as they increase in size, coalesce and burst. Lymph from the cells congeals and scabs are formed. The surface of the nodules become rough and dry and the color changes to dark brown or black. The size and number of nodules present depends on the stage and severity of the infection. Bacteria may gain access causing secondary infection and resulting in a purulent discharge (pus) and necrosis. Eventually, the scab falls off and a scar forms at the site. It takes 2 to 4 weeks for complete healing of the affected areas on the skin providing the lesions aren't too extensive thereby preventing the bird from feeding.



The diphtheritic form involves the mouth, throat, trachea and lungs and consists of yellow or white, moderately raised, moist cheese-like necrotic areas. A diphtheritic membrane forms and may restrict air intake and result in labored breathing and possible suffocation.



Histologically, intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies (Bollinger bodies) are present in the infected skin and respiratory tract mucosa. In the diphtheritic form of the disease, nodular hyperplasia (increase in the number of cells) of the mucosa is observed.



Diagnosis



A presumptive diagnosis of avian pox can be made due to the gross lesions on the body. Confirmation of avian pox is accomplished by microscopic examination for the characteristic Bollinger bodies. Virus isolation by transmission of the organism via egg inoculation, serological results and polymerase chain reaction can also be a means of confirming the disease.



Treatment



There is no known treatment for avian pox in wild birds. In captive situations, there are a variety of treatments that have been used along with supportive care to treat the pox lesions and to prevent secondary infections in various avian species. These treatments consist of removing skin lesions and utilizing sodium bicarbonate or Lugol's solution of iodine washes, removing the diphtheritic membrane from the mouth and throat and swabbing the area with Lugol's solution of iodine, bathing the eyes with a 1-2% saline solution, and raising the environmental temperature. In all cases, providing assistance for recovery may spread the infection to other parts of the skin or to other birds.



Control



The best control for avian pox in captive (turkeys, pheasants, threatened and endangered species) and domestic (chickens and turkeys) birds is vaccination with a modified live vaccine. In wild birds, vaccination is not a feasible method of control.



Avian pox is a highly contagious disease and there are three primary control methods that can be used if infected birds are present. Eliminating standing water will control the primary vector, the mosquito. Infected birds should be isolated or culled to remove the source of the virus. Feeders, waterers, birdbaths and cages should be decontaminated with a 10% bleach solution.



Significance



There is no evidence that the avian pox virus can infect humans and therefore it is not a public health concern.



In some populations of birds (wild turkey, bald eagle and albatross), avian pox may be a significant mortality factor.




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For questions about wildlife diseases, please contact the Michigan DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you, Jay, that clears up a lot of it for me. Definitely won't keep him in near parrots at all. In reading all the signs I am extra relieved that he is so strong and definitely not showing any signs of being ill, other than the beak. Now I'll make sure to keep him that way.
 

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Hi Maryjane,

I'm sorry to hear about your Charlie, yes, it could well be pox. If you click on the link under my signature, you'll find 6 pages from Clinical Avian Medicine
posted up at Webshots. The popcorn effect is normal. Margaret has it right in that it's best to treat it as Pox until you positively 'ID" it.

You shouldn't vaccinate a sick bird because it can make for an even more virulent strain of the virus and it would be probably best to wait 2-3
weeks after isolating Charley before you vaccinate the rest of the birds to make sure they have not contracted the virus. Pox is frequently passed by pigeon fly acting as a carrier. A bird who has had the virus may also shed it in his/her feces and pass it along that way. It it not thought to simply be caught by being air born. Another way that it can be passed is through the care giver or blood products from the sick bird being that the other birds become exposed to. It's best to use drying products externally and keep the affected areas clean and dry though care will have to be taken around the cere not to get any topical in the eyes. It would probably be best to use an
herbal remedy that is also compatible w/use in the eyes in your situation where Charlie's pox areas are so close to the eye.

For the body, according to Spears, straight peroxide for cleaning and drying
pox affected areas. Also, 1/2 cup of bleach to a gallon of water to clean the
cage and dedicated utensils....Nolvasan won't kill the pox virus according to
Dr. Spear. I wash my hands w/the solution after caring for a pox bird so that I know that I won't pass it along. Wear an apron and launder afterwards if possible. Dr. Spear also recommended a higher level of protein be given the bird during the course of the virus.

I would treat the bird concurrently for canker, they frequently come together.
Hand feed/tube feed Charlie if his/her weight starts to drop. Good luck w/this..

fp
 

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Ive seen alot of discussions on sicknesses. What makes pigeons get sick like this? I know it's different with all different types of sicknesses but what can I do to prevent these things from ever happening? I'm not using any medicines, just vinigar in their bath and water once a week, should I?
 

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Ive seen alot of discussions on sicknesses. What makes pigeons get sick like this? I know it's different with all different types of sicknesses but what can I do to prevent these things from ever happening? I'm not using any medicines, just vinigar in their bath and water once a week, should I?
You might want to take a look at the Resource Section, Treesa Gray has
a stickie there:

http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/f25/prevention-amp-nutrition-program-for-homing-pigeons-5760.html

This would be a good place for you to start, and as you become more knowledgable, you can make additions.

fp
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you very much, FP. I will hold off on vaccinating the rest of them. I already washed down everything with the bleach mixture really well and am very carefully washing my hands and changing shirts. Charley is set up in a very large parrot cage and is gobbling down the fresh food I just put down. So I should use the hydrogen peroxide and not dilute betadine? Or both? I haven't seen any pigeon flies (shudder) on any of them for years, but we also haven't had any mosquitos to speak of around here yet, so who knows??

Birds+Me, I found that after I vaccinated my guys last year, I did not lose a single one to illness or disease. In fact I've only lost one since then and he had other issues going on. I can't tell you how good it feels to have them all healthy and not worrying about them getting sick. I got my vaccines on Foy's last year, but this year have found them a bit cheaper on this site:
http://www.vitakingproducts.com/vaccine2.htm

There is a list there of the vaccines we generally use for our pigeons. I highly recommend using them, even for pet pigeons that don't get out (like mine). They're not too hard to give and have amazing results.
 

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I'll see weather I will use vaccines or not. I don't have that many birds, and my loft stays very clean (not to brag or anything). I havn't had any serious sicknesses yet so I'll see what happens. Thanks for the advise.
 

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Thank you very much, FP. I will hold off on vaccinating the rest of them. I already washed down everything with the bleach mixture really well and am very carefully washing my hands and changing shirts. Charley is set up in a very large parrot cage and is gobbling down the fresh food I just put down. So I should use the hydrogen peroxide and not dilute betadine? Or both? I haven't seen any pigeon flies (shudder) on any of them for years, but we also haven't had any mosquitoes to speak of around here yet, so who knows??
Maybe a random mosquito or pigeon fly? I think a pox bird can shed the virus for up to a year or more, at least I recall reading this some time ago. Anyway, spraying w/Sevin or Scalex would be a good idea as well just in case.

This was Dr. Speer's recommendation, to use undiluted Hydrogen Peroxide, and to pull feathers around the affected areas to better keep clean. That part seems like a non issue around the cere. I do know that some dentists recommend cleaning one's teeth w/Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking soda made into a paste to whiten, making minor accidental introduction into the mouth more than likely tolerated by the bird. The idea is to dry out the lesions or boils to help contain the infection. I don't know which of the two has better drying/antiseptic properties from a chemists point of view, but Speer is very
knowledgeable.

Here's another link for Dr. Speer (I misspelled his name in my earlier post):

http://www.parrots.org/index.php/forumsandexperts/answers/author/bspeerdvm

fp
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you FP, I have heard that about the peroxide being used for teeth too so other than the gross taste, hopefully it won't bother him if he gets a bit in his beak. He is a bit hard to hold while I do it but we're getting the hang of it. He's enjoying the heating pad and having his own bowl of food, that's for sure. :rolleyes:

Bierds+Me, it's not bragging at all by saying your loft is very clean, we always love to hear that. :D And if you just have a few and they're not exposed to other birds, they will likely be fine. :)
 
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