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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear pigeon carers. This is my first posting, and I'm glad to be part of this community.
* Four weeks ago I took into my care, a feral pigeon who had since developed very clear signs of PARAMYXO virus.
* This female bird appears to be making a slow and steady recovery, but requires daily hand-feeding and watering at various times throughout the day.
* The care aspect (as part of this undertaking) is not my primary concern, but what is causing me some distress is the risk to my two other wonderful pigeon (pets) that I rescued as squabs over three years ago which have not been vacinated yet.
*They are truly the most uplifting and optimistic little creatures, and I dread the thought of them becoming unwell.
* Mercifully, I have kept them well apart from the affected bird from the outset, but have read some contradictory and alarming reports of the virus being air-bourne.
*My two pigeon pets, which are kept indoors and have free access to several large rooms upsairs (until I build a large aviary in the garden) are kept well-apart from the poorly bird, who is 'isolated' downstairs in a separate room.
*My obvious concern is the cross-contamination and transmission of the virus to the other healthy birds.
*I am being extremely meticulous about changing clothing and footwear, and washing hands to enter and exit the isolation room. I keep all foodstuffs apart and do my utmost to keep the 'zone' sterile.
* Vaccinating my other two birds is high on the agenda but takes a couple of weeks to be effective anyway (so I hear).
*However, the articles I've read regarding "air-bourne" PARAMYXO (whether accurate or inaccurate) are troubling me.
* Can anyone please offer guidance and or reassurance?
*I aim to release the effected bird once she has recovered, amongst the flock she came from in central London.
Thanks kindly,
Fromjennie
 

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Hi Jennie,

I want to first welcome you to Pigeon Talk, and thank you for rescuing this very needy pigeon.

I certainly understand your concern and am glad you are doing everything you can to keep this virus from your pets. It sounds like you have everything well under control, including keeping your birds well seperated from the sick bird.

Our member Cynthia, has had a few rescues with PMV birds and been successful in keeping it from spreading, have you read her thread on the disease? Hopefully she will be along.

Here is the thread:
http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/showthread.php?t=12250
 

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Hi Jennie,

I understand your concern, it would break my heart if I was to transfer PMV from a rescue to one of my pet pigeons. I have been rescuing pigeons for 9 years now and it hasn't happened.

Viruses are not really considered to be a life form (I don't think that they have a cell in them, could be wrong on that!) and only become active in a host's living cell. The virus only becomes airbourne in two ways: through the mucous secretions (eg on the "aerosol" of a sneeze) or on the powder of fecal waste.

When the virus enters a pigeon system the first site of infection is the respiratory system and that is when it is transmitted by sneezes..those droplets are unlikely to travel far . For the virus to be airborne in fecal waste the faeces must be dried to powder...so to prevent them become airbourne you have to dispose of the faeces when they are wet and if you happen to find dry fecal waste then dampen it before scraping.

Avoid hoovering the room where the PMV pigeon is and then using the same hoover to do the rooms occupied by healthy pigeons.

PMV will even spread very slowly in a loft, where pigeons share the same food and water (and if you have pet pigeons then you know that if there is water within pooping ) so you should have nothing to worry about.

If you go to the link that Trees posted and scroll down there is the information about hygiene .

It might not be possible to release the pigeon back into the flock, sometimes they don't make a complete recovery and they are prone to relapses which would be fatal in the wild. I usually keep mine isolated for 12 weeks, even though they cease to shed the virus after 6 weeks. This is because the viru can survive in feathers for quite a long time, and preening would bring mucous secretions into contact with the feathers, so I ensure they have plenty of baths befor the isolation ends.

Cynthia
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you cynthia, that is reassuring and informative. It would be useful to know whether or not the relapses, as you described, leave other birds in the same company vulnerable once more to infection. In other words do relapses of the illness cause the bird to shed virus once again, and therefore risk of transmission to others, or does previous infection offer the bird some sort of immunity from further infections and shedding?
It must be terribly hard to estimate the chances of a relapse when considering release. I expect I'll just have to monitor it's progress, and take it from there, but abandoning the poor mite isn't an option now - safely introducing it into the 'family' at the right time is.
I'm grateful for your expertise and assistance. I would also be absoloutely devastated were my two other pets to become infected.
Best,
fromjennie
 

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Hi Jennie,

They don't shed the virus during the "relapse". The infectious stage ends 6 weeks after they start showing symptoms, but they will be shedding the virus before the nervous symptoms appear.

What I have not found out (yet) is what is happening inside them during the "relapse" or whether there is a cure. I suspect that the "relapse" is caused by the effects of the permanent lesions in the nervous system that the disease leaves.

Two of mine have been with me for over 7 years now, without any sign of a relapse. They were two that were badly affected during the illness but made a complete recovery. A lot continue to show nervous symptoms all their lives.

Cynthia
 

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My Louis had bad PMV, I didn't even think he was going to make it but he recovered completely. Then one year later he had a relapse only for a short period, a couple of days. He was courting Ariel and I guess he was trying so hard to impress her and was so stressed out and that caused him to relapse. They are happily mated ever since now, it's been a year and he has had no other relapse.

Reti
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's enormously reassuring Cynthia, thanks so much. Hollie (the bird in question) is making good progress and with a little encouragement will fly forward a short distance, although the landing is quite a rumble! No longer flying backwards which is good. Has also become very comfortable with me and will 'chuff' it's wings (in apparent contentedness). I'm weighing-up the options of releasing or allowing Hollie to join the others as a pet. As I'm sure you'll understand, I've become quite attached - or lets say certainly enough to never want the bird to starve due to a possible relapse if released. I'll see.
Cynthia, thanks again.
fromjennie
 

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Hi Jennie,

One of the PMV casualties in my care at the moment is called Holly. She arrived at Christmas and is very badly affected by the virus.

Cynthia
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Cynthia,
Is your Holly making progress? You've had her about a month longer than I've had my Hollie (5 weeks now since I found her unable to fly). Walked her in garden yesterday (as I've been doing for several days, now that she less inclined to circle round and round). She'll usually flap her wings a bit, and at best usually keel over to one side if she tries anything more ambitious. However, yesterday she took off without warning completely vertically spiralling higher and higher to about 20 feet, and then appeared to hovver there in a flapping frenzy - I watched in horror as the events unfolded (as if in slow motion) and really thought I'd lost her! She then dropped suddenly into my neighbours garden with a thud. I leapt over the fence to retreive her - phew! Releif all round. I shan't be able to take her out again.
But she is making progress, and now flaps her wings to balance herself when on my hand. She still requires hand feeding, although managed to dip down and drink from the shallow but large dish I placed in her isolation cage yesterday, which is extremely encouraging. I noticed that by stepping into the large shallow dish, she instinctively realised "wet feet equals drink" whereas leaving a smaller cup wasn't effective in-as-much-as she never went to it.
I'm finding it fairly hard work at times - especially the containment aspect with other birds in the house, which I'm very releived to say are not showing signs of PMV. But I've been frightened witless and am still wary.
Best,
fromjennie
 
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