Pigeon-Talk banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi everybody!

1st time posting, Apologies that its asking for advice with a health issue! :(

Im an animal care technician at Bangor Uni in Wales, I have had an aging group of homing pigeons (used for flight physiology research, giving "backpacks" with accelerometers and GPS etc. nothing sinister, I love my pigeons!) for 3 years now, and i am the sole carer. Its been a steep learning curve but I seem to have hit the nail on the head so far.
However inheriting a fairly healthy and stable group of birds, I have not had too many health problems to deal with (injuries, worms, minor stomach upsets).

I have just received a new group of young (a few still had the "billy idol" yellow feathers on thier heads) birds from a reputable supplier, the birds seemed in good condition when they came in (they are separated from the old group but still in the same loft, I have biosecurity measures (dedicated cleaning/feeding kit for each group, changing overshoes/coveralls/gloves, birds physically separated by loft doors sealed as best as possible) to help prevent spread of disease between groups. The birds have apparently had "a full range of vaccinations"

I was expecting a certain amount of teething trouble/stress/illness when they came in, and i have not been disappointed.

Some of the birds started fluffing up and pointing the tail downwards, their faeces was generally very wet and they were eating a bit less than normal and drinking a lot.
I tried ACV (20ml/2l for 2 days) and followed with a probiotic treatment on the seed (Bamfords super young bird and breed and wean mixed, since some birds showed preference at first for smaller seeds in the breed and wean).
This made very little difference so I tried a levamisole (harkerverm) treatment.
This has improved the faecal condition merkedly in most of the group (I am performing identical treatments on the old flock).

Yesterday however our vet visited and "convinently" one of the birds had decided to kick the bucket the night before :eek:

I dissected the bird to try to determine COD.
Kidneys looked fine, liver was great looking but had some dark discoloration, not patches or foci, possibly just post mortem/decomp.
No foci or discoloration of the flight muscles (they were small but its a very young bird).
Lungs looked in fine shape, no sign of pathology.
Gizzard and lower
GI tract looked fine too. No worms or other parasites.
Upon opening the crop up, (very little food inside, but not particularly mucousy or filled with liquid) I noticed yellow white caseous (cheese-like) loose lumps in the birds throat (canker or pox?)

I took a sample and checked it under a microscope, finding what im pretty sure were tiny flagellates zipping about, suggesting canker as the cause.

The birds are young and I have read that the pharyngeal form of canker is particularly nasty in young birds.
I have some harkers 3in1 (tabs) on its way.

Im understandably worried for my birds and that im not doing everything I can to help them through this. As you can see im trying hard but possibly lack of experience is making me draw false conclusions or take counterproductive action out of worry.

Any advice or suggestions of other treatments or "pigeon alchemy" of herbal supplements, vinegar, garlic etc. would be greatly appreciated!
And anything else I can do to boost their general health without doing too much and confusing them with constant funny tasting water and seed.

Thanks a lot for your time reading this, and many thanks in advance for any replies!

All the best

Rhys Morgan
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,396 Posts
Hello and Welcome, sorry to read about your loss.

How old are these youngsters? If they are not 2 months of age, I would not recommend garlic at this time, as it can wipe out what little good gut bacteria they have.

How well were they eating? How much organic apple cider vinegar did you use per gallon? If it is too strong in their water, they won't drink enough to help get gut PH on tract.

Young birds are particularly vulnerable to health issues under stressful situations, like moving to a new loft, new everything, that in itself can cause bad bacteria to quickly progress. If they are not completely weaned and not eating enough that complicates matters so that bad bacteria can outgrow the good bacteria. Triple that with worming and you easily have favorable conditions for disease/canker/etc. Any bird that is not eating enough should be hand fed until completely weaned.

I myself use a very healthy yogurt for my young birds (loads of good cultures) and immediate results on gut flora and stabilizing the poop. I have never seen a probiotic have same results except a few infant probiotics that are refrigerated.

I recommend Metrodonidazole for canker, as this needs to be wiped out quickly. 3 in 1's are not going to target canker and those are more for prevention, and why medicate the youngsters with other meds they may not need. Too many meds will not help them build their immunities.

As far as the wormer goes, pigeons are very sensitive to some wormers and you need to use a pigeon friendly wormer, like Moxidectin-but only when youngsters are healthy. Also, I am concerned about dosage, given these birds were young and some may not have been eating well and maybe below weight for standard dosage. http://www.siegelpigeons.com/catalog-worms.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29,795 Posts
It's canker, and they all need to be treated as they are sharing feed and water. Canker is very common in birds under stress. You need something that treats canker, not a 3 in 1.
Metronidazole would be a good choice as it usually works very well. When young pigeons are "off". You would have seen the canker had you checked down the throat, and using a small flashlight helps to see better.
An adult would get 50 mg once daily, and a squab 30 mg once daily. These birds are what, about 4 weeks? 40-50 mg daily would probably do it. You are better treating with a tablet down the throat, rather than in the drinking water, as you know they got what they need. You can't control how much they are drinking. Also if they are off their feed, you will need to hand feed til they are feeling better. Metro can make them vomit sometime if given on an empty crop so I would feed first, then medicate.
How many young birds are there?
Also, better not to worm birds that young unless you are fairly certain that worms is the problem. Other than that I would wait till they are 4 months old.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29,795 Posts
Sky, didn't realize you were posting as well. Good morning!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
727 Posts
Sickness

I believe that Jay is right on needing to treat specifically for canker, but I am not a fan of Metronidazole. I used to swear by it and Spartrix, but I have gotten forms of canker that neither medication will touch.

As far as I know the most effective treatment has always been, and still is Emtryl. I have only found two places in the US to to get, and at least one of those import it from Australia.

One other med that is supposed to be good is Avio Nidalzole. It is a combination of Secnidazole and Ronidazole. I personally don't know how well it works. I have never used it, but it may be made in the UK.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Hi guys!

Wow, that was quick! Thank you so much!

Will try to answer all questions, I have 35 young birds.

The birds are about 8-10 weeks old, I guess they were around 4-5 weeks when they arrived (since the supplier didnt specify, same with what constituted a "full range of vaccinations") and I have had them for 4 weeks now.

I have been checking their throats and I havnt yet seen anything suggesting canker, looks healthy colour with no yellow lumps. The only time I saw the Canker like yellow bits was when i took the dead bird apart, they were quite far down the throat into the crop. However, the rest of the bird seemed great. How would canker kill? I think i saw somewhere that its renal failure but the kidneys looked good too.

Thankfully theyre not off their feed and from the look of the poo and observation at feeding theyre all eating and as keenly as for healthy birds.

Being a university we have an appointed vet who comes every month to check all our animals, he suggested the worming with levamisole as a start and to be honest that did seem to improve the faeces a lot at first, maybe as Sky says that gave the canker a chance to thrive :(
I used a 3/4 of the recommended dose for the young birds.

I sprayed down and cleaned the loft with disinfectant (Virkon) after the treatment. They are cleaned on a daily basis whether healthy or not.

Thankfully iv not used garlic yet, thanks Sky!

Following the ACV (10ml/L 10ml/0.2USgal, thats the dose suggested on bottle, is that too strong?) and worming I used a probiotic live yoghurt on their seed.

I will phone up our vet again now having read your replies and hopefully if I get the green light I can get the treatments this afternoon.

I know the young birds are probably super stressed after the move and change of foods/water/location, you've confirmed my fear of possibly doing too much to help and causing harm instead.

Thank you so much for your help!

I will keep the forum updated on my progress in case anyone else might find it useful.

I'm very glad I signed up here. Its lovely to know theres such a supportive community out there.

Thank you very much again Sky, Jay and Chuck!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,396 Posts
As far as I know the most effective treatment has always been, and still is Emtryl. I have only found two places in the US to to get, and at least one of those import it from Australia.

One other med that is supposed to be good is Avio Nidalzole. It is a combination of Secnidazole and Ronidazole. I personally don't know how well it works. I have never used it, but it may be made in the UK.
Thank you for your experience and info with canker/meds, it's definitely good to have the most effective treatment as well as a second one, since canker does get drug resistant. I will keep this info on file.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
569 Posts
Hi guys!

Wow, that was quick! Thank you so much!

Will try to answer all questions, I have 35 young birds.

The birds are about 8-10 weeks old, I guess they were around 4-5 weeks when they arrived (since the supplier didnt specify, same with what constituted a "full range of vaccinations") and I have had them for 4 weeks now.

I have been checking their throats and I havnt yet seen anything suggesting canker, looks healthy colour with no yellow lumps. The only time I saw the Canker like yellow bits was when i took the dead bird apart, they were quite far down the throat into the crop. However, the rest of the bird seemed great. How would canker kill? I think i saw somewhere that its renal failure but the kidneys looked good too.

Thankfully theyre not off their feed and from the look of the poo and observation at feeding theyre all eating and as keenly as for healthy birds.

Being a university we have an appointed vet who comes every month to check all our animals, he suggested the worming with levamisole as a start and to be honest that did seem to improve the faeces a lot at first, maybe as Sky says that gave the canker a chance to thrive :(
I used a 3/4 of the recommended dose for the young birds.

I sprayed down and cleaned the loft with disinfectant (Virkon) after the treatment. They are cleaned on a daily basis whether healthy or not.

Thankfully iv not used garlic yet, thanks Sky!

Following the ACV (10ml/L 10ml/0.2USgal, thats the dose suggested on bottle, is that too strong?) and worming I used a probiotic live yoghurt on their seed.

I will phone up our vet again now having read your replies and hopefully if I get the green light I can get the treatments this afternoon.

I know the young birds are probably super stressed after the move and change of foods/water/location, you've confirmed my fear of possibly doing too much to help and causing harm instead.

Thank you so much for your help!

I will keep the forum updated on my progress in case anyone else might find it useful.

I'm very glad I signed up here. Its lovely to know theres such a supportive community out there.

Thank you very much again Sky, Jay and Chuck!
I had a feeling you would figure it was canker and read how to treat it. A site I think you may like as well is dr. Colin walker Australian pigeon. He goes over some of the most common diseases in pigeons and raises pigeons, which for a vet is pretty cool. Also chevita has a symptom checker that has come in handy. Being you are in the animal medicine field you could be a good support for allot on this site.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Hi Everybody!

Firstly Ill say thanks again everyone for your advice, its been a genuine help in guiding me though this.

Good news it seems!
I got the vets go-ahead last night for a canker treatment, the best thing I could get hold of around here was Harkanker (ronidazole).

I put the 1st treatment in the drinkers yesterday and this mornig they are already showing improvement in posture and faecal quality, its almost 80% healthy poo.

One of my home-grown birds from the older flock (Berk, who is extremely friendly) started to show symptoms yesterday, I decided to try crop feeding 1ml of the medicated water to ensure treatment and today she is looking much happier too. Sitting on my shoulders and trying to pull my ears off as per usual.

One of the new birds looked a little worse off than the others today so I did the same, hopefully that little guy will recover like Berk.
Thankfully all the birds are feeding ravenously so not having to assist feed yet.

Will continue with the course (7 days) and keep posting updates.

Im thinking they probably did have a worm problem since the levamisole did make a difference for a few days while the canker was amplifying in its new competition free environment.
Sky, I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head!

Hopefully this isnt going to end up with every known pigeon pathogen playing musical chairs in the new birds!

Shows how little experience my 3 years of pigeon keeping really amounts to! :eek: But frankly im just extremely relieved that this seems to be helping. Fingers crossed that the worst is over now.

Thank you everyone and as I say I will keep updating.

Rhys
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29,795 Posts
Good news. Thanks for the update. Hope all continue to improve.
If you can get it, it's good to have a canker med on hand that is in tablet form also, to treat individually. With a tablet you can be sure that they got the right dose.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
569 Posts
Hi Everybody!

Firstly Ill say thanks again everyone for your advice, its been a genuine help in guiding me though this.

Good news it seems!
I got the vets go-ahead last night for a canker treatment, the best thing I could get hold of around here was Harkanker (ronidazole).

I put the 1st treatment in the drinkers yesterday and this mornig they are already showing improvement in posture and faecal quality, its almost 80% healthy poo.

One of my home-grown birds from the older flock (Berk, who is extremely friendly) started to show symptoms yesterday, I decided to try crop feeding 1ml of the medicated water to ensure treatment and today she is looking much happier too. Sitting on my shoulders and trying to pull my ears off as per usual.

One of the new birds looked a little worse off than the others today so I did the same, hopefully that little guy will recover like Berk.
Thankfully all the birds are feeding ravenously so not having to assist feed yet.

Will continue with the course (7 days) and keep posting updates.

Im thinking they probably did have a worm problem since the levamisole did make a difference for a few days while the canker was amplifying in its new competition free environment.
Sky, I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head!

Hopefully this isnt going to end up with every known pigeon pathogen playing musical chairs in the new birds!

Shows how little experience my 3 years of pigeon keeping really amounts to! :eek: But frankly im just extremely relieved that this seems to be helping. Fingers crossed that the worst is over now.

Thank you everyone and as I say I will keep updating.

Rhys
Super cool!
Ronidazole works pretty well, although I had a resistant strain in a giant runt pigeon and that did not work, he had canker for months , I tried everything! At least I do not think it was a virulent strain, just a resistant one. I ended up doing things that boost the immune system, because healthy pigeons usually keep canker in check with this own immunities.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,396 Posts
Great to hear such a positive update! For me it has always been different treating youngsters, then grown up birds.

Keeping the gut healthy is primary for an optimum immune system-but especially for young birds who are still developing a healthy digestive system with optimum levels of good gut flora and PH. They are much more sensitive to any drug.



Thank you for the update.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top