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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Please remember that whenever you take in a sick pigeon it is vital that you warm it up before feeding or giving water and that you rehydrate it before feeding. All fluids should be warmed to 39 degrees centigrade. This link will tell you exactly what vital first steps to take: http://www.pigeons.biz/pigeons/index.html

Pigeon Paramyxovirus is a viral disease that does not affect man or animals, but a human that handles a pigeon with PMV or the live vaccine can develop conjunctivitis if sensible precautions are not taken (eg, do not touch your eyes immediately after handling a pigeon with PMV or the live vaccine).


  • Incubation period can vary from a few days to several weeks.
  • It is most often of moderate virulence with 5% to 10% mortality, but rarely highly virulent strains can cause 90% mortality.
  • Mortality rates are significantly higher if supportive care is not given (eg. when the virus is injected experimentally in a laboratory).
  • Water deprivation and stress increase mortality.
  • Spontaneous recovery within 6 - 12 weeks is common, but recovery can take longer.
  • Nervous symptoms can persist for life or return in times of stress.
  • Some pigeons will suffer from persistent diarrhoea after recovery.
SYMPTOMS:

Diarrhoea is often the first symptom, but feral pigeons will not often come to the attention of a rescuer until the nervous signs appear. Not all symptoms will be present at the same time. All symptoms are aggravated by excitement.

The most common symptoms seen by the rescuer will be:

  • Thin broken solid droppings in a pool of liquid
  • Fine tremor of eyes or head
  • Staggering
  • Somersaulting in flight
  • Crash landing
  • Difficulty picking up seed, pecking and missing.
  • Tossing seed backwards
  • Twisting neck, head upside down (torticollis, star gazing) - see photo.
  • Paralysis of legs or wings
  • Spiralling in flight
  • Flying backwards
  • Turning in circles
  • Having fits
HOUSING

  • During the recovery period keep pigeons with Pigeon PMV in a quiet, warm (not hot) cage with soft flooring away from any intense light source.
  • Towelling is ideal for flooring as they can damage their feathering if they have fits.
  • Provide a brick for perching.


FEEDING AND WATERING


  • Place seed in a deep dish so that if they stab at random they can pick seed up.
  • Because Pigeon PMV can cause fits pigeons are at risk of drowning but they need free access to water. Provide water (with added electrolytes if possible) in a deep narrow container to minimise the risk of accidental drowning. Watch the pigeon to ensure it is drinking.
  • Hand feeding may be necessary. If feeding by gavage tube is not an option the pigeon’s mouth has to be opened and the food pushed to the back of throat. Suitable foods that can be fed this way include pellets of egg food paste dipped in water and soaked dog biscuits.
  • Weigh the pigeon daily and carry out a poop count to ensure that he is getting enough food. As a guideline: a healthy pigeon will pass between 20 and 30 raisin sized poops a day.

NURSING CARE

  • Supportive care is usually sufficient.
  • Resistance to other diseases such as coccidiosis, trichomoniasis and aspergillosis is reduced. Avoid conditions that could aggravate these conditions (stress, damp etc), watch out for symptoms and provide prompt treatment if symptoms appear.
  • The disease runs its course in about 6 weeks, by that time the pigeon has stopped shedding the virus and won't infect other pigeons but nervous symptoms and gastro-intestinal may persist longer.
  • Vitamins should be given to boost the immune system.
  • Probiotics can be used to crowd out any bad “gut” bacteria.
  • Electrolytes can be given to replace the electrolytes lost through polyuria.
  • I have found that providing a calcium supplement on arrival (Gem Calcium Syrup with Vitamin D3) has helped. The dose I gave was two drops a day for 3 days.
  • Do not use antibiotics without consulting a vet. They can intensify the lesions and aggravate the course of the disease.

SOME USEFUL HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES

  • I have had some success treating the paralysis/stroke symptoms of Pigeon PMV using the homeopathic remedy Conium Maculatum (common hemlock) dosing with a single tablet of the 30 potency three times a day for up to 10 days.
  • Birds that tremble and fall over when they try to move because their balance is impaired may benefit from Argenitum Nit 30 potency, one tablet given 3 or 4times a day for up to 2 days.
  • Belladonna can be used for birds that are restless with convulsive movement and jerking limbs. 2 pilules twice a day.

Remember not to touch homeopathic pilules with your hands, this can contaminate them and reduce effectiveness, give them on a “clean mouth” (no food or additions to the drinking water 20 minutes before or 20 minutes after) and stop the remedy as soon as an improvement shows


HYGIENE

  • Pigeon PMV is highly infectious to other pigeons , victims should be kept isolated from other birds for at least 6 weeks.
  • Maintain scrupulous hygiene , regularly disinfecting food and water containers with bleach.
  • Always see to a pigeon with Pigeon PMV after you have treated your other birds. That reduces the risk of carrying the infection to other birds in your care.
  • Wash hands after contact and take care not to track fecal waste or carry fecal dust to areas where other birds are.
  • Some rescuers keep a clean overall and shoes just inside the isolation area, to put on while caring for Pigeon PMV sufferers and remove when leaving the area.
  • Dispose of droppings wisely, they can be a source of infection to feral pigeons.


PREVENTION AND CONTROL

In a loft situation it is important to vaccinate pigeons against Pigeon PMV.
Remember that it is the pigeon that is not showing any symptoms of Pigeon PMV but is shedding the virus that is the greatest danger to other pigeons. By the time the obvious symptoms appear the virus could have infected other pigeons in your care. Always isolate new pigeons. They can be vaccinated if they show no signs of the disease after 10 days in quarantine.
 
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Thanks Cynthia for the hard work you put into collecting and organizing this information. This is one of the best I've seen and do hope it becomes a sticky for us here @ PT.

fp
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Maggie. I know that you are very knowledgeable on this subject and are also one of the few that nursed pigeons through PMV at a time when so many would have refused to help them, so your approval means a lot to me.

Cynthia
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks FP and Terry. I have found the picture now!

Cynthia
 

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Cynthia, Did that beautiful pigeon you have pictured as an example survive? What a beautiful bird, but difficult seeing such a beautiful bird in such a bad situation.
Daryl
 

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That pij is a real beauty, and in such sad shape. Glad she found such good hands to provide shelter, Cynthia. I've never been challenged to come to the aid of a PMV bird, and admire you and the others who have and provided the necessary care.

fp
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The photo is of Feefo the Beautiful and was taken seconds after the one of her that I use as my avatar.

Cynthia
 

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Cynthia, Feefo truly is well named "the beautiful" . There is just something so special about the little PMV's. If they are kept happy and content, they don't even know they're different. I think I've mentioned that two things always struck me about ours - their inquisitiveness and running instead of walking. Sometimes they would crack me up they were so cute. Feefo looks like she really loves you.

maggie
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Feefo the Beautiful

Hi Maggie,

Feefo the Beautiful was the first rescue that I kept, I built the aviary for her and it is now a home for over 40 pigeons.

Feefo had residual neurological damage which caused her to have fits.

Sadly she is the one that showed me how dangerous water is to PMV victims. I had always been careful to supervise the pigeons when the bathwater was down but noticed that Feefo avoided going near it so I let my watchfulness lapse and she drowned in a shallow bath. This was in June 2003

Because of this I have a rule that if the thought that something could harm my pigeons crosses my mind I take action to remove the danger, however slight, immediately.

I hope this helps reinforce what I said in the PMV post...water can be so dangerous to pigeons with neurological damage.

Cynthia
 

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You know Cynthia, Daryl is absolutely right. An innocent mistake. Sometimes we do let our guard down. Back when I rehabbed songbirds I got in 3 little wrens. Sometimes I actually dreaded getting them because they are very hard to care for. Two were pretty gentle but one was very frightened and wild. I had them all in a large plastic container with a lid that had air holes in the top and felt they were safely past the critical time when you lose so many of them. It was late in the afternoon, I had not had a chance to shower until then but before I did I fed the little wrens and when I finished did not securely close the top of the box. When I finished my shower I went back to check on them and found the little wild one with his head caught between the box top and the lid. He had apparently tried to jump out and the lid closed back on him, killing him instantly.

I was devastated but never again did I leave a top not secured. It was totally innocent and no matter how hard you try these things do happen. Bless you.

maggie
 

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Cynthia,

I'm not sure if you've mentioned it before (you probably must have) but I never realized till today that you had lost Feefo or that you had lost her in that manner. She is so beautiful and I've always admired your avatar.

I know it was two years ago, but just wanted to say that my heart really goes out to you...it must have been so devastating.

Maggie, the same goes out to you too.

I think it takes so much courage to go on with the important work you both do when you can be sure there are going to be devastating losses now and then. My hat is off to you both and everyone else who does such important work.

Linda
 

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Outstanding thread Cynthia

Hi Cynthia,
Thank you so much for taking the time to compile this information regarding PMV.

I was looking for something specific yesterday & happen to stumble upon the website noted below.
I clicked on 'Pigeon Health' & found this interesting piece on PMV.
Although this racing pigeon fancier classifies PMV as a major disease, he feels most PMV pigeons recover.

Major diseases

Paramyxovirosis

The initial symptoms are sickness, diarrhea and weight loss followed by nervous disorders which are very characteristic:

· Tremor of the head
· Twisting of the head/neck
· Paralysis; of one wing, then both and/or paralysis of the feet
· Disordered balance and flight
· Tottering step, tendency to fall over backwards

Less typical signs can also be observed; the initial appearance of nervous disorder without any previous diarrhea and weight loss, or the appearance of diarrhea without nervous symptoms.

There is no special treatment. The best course of action is to vaccinate all birds as soon as possible.

Pigeon - fanciers are apt to dispose of their sick pigeons once the disease has been confirmed in the loft. This is a mistake as most birds will return to good health after two or three months, provided they are fed and watered. Once the disease has passed the pigeons will retain their sense of direction intact and will recover completely. Likewise, pigeons which have survived can be bred from - they do not become carriers of the disease
.

Here is the link to the website in it's entirety.

http://www.btinternet.com/~srpc/

Cindy ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
feefo te Beautiful

Thanks Daryl, Maggie and Lin. I was devastated when I found Feefo in the bath and cradled her all night, then I buried her next to her aviary. John created a memorial site with her poem and photos of all the friends that shared her home and later started to add those that arrived after she left :http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~pidgie/memorialpage/memorial.htm

Even though I know that it is so easy to make mistakes I feel I failed her because I had already thought there was danger for her there...I just hope that others reading this will be warned and that feefo's death will save other pigeons going the same way.

Cynthia
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
I was looking for something specific yesterday & happen to stumble upon the website noted below.
I clicked on 'Pigeon Health' & found this interesting piece on PMV.
Although this racing pigeon fancier classifies PMV as a major disease, he feels most PMV pigeons recover.
Thanks Cindy! That is also what I have read: I have just acquired the "Understanding Pigeon Paramyxovirus" booklet by H Vindevogel (vet and University Professor) and J P Duchatel (Avian expert). In the booklet they state that they personally know several fanciers that won a number of prizes one year with pigeons that showed severe nervous disorders the previous year. They also established that the virus persists for no more than 4 weeks in the repiratory organs, 3 weeks in the intestines and 5 weeks in the brain and that after 6 weeks they are no longer carriers.

Cynthia
 

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Dear Cynthia. For someone like me who can talk non-stop at any given time, words just fail me when looking at Feefo's memorial page. That is one of the most beautiful tributes I have ever seen and thank you for sharing it.

maggie
 
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