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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

4 weeks ago I got a young pigeon from the street showing respiratory issues. Since I couldn't get to a vet right away, he was first treated with a product called Fosbac, containing tylosin and phosphomicyn. He did well in the beginning, starting to eat on his own after 2 days. The treatment was recommended to last for 3-5 days, he got 5, during which his condition improved (his eyes cleared, they were stuck closed in the start) but not cleared. After those days (a weekend was in between) I managed to get him a vet appointment and he was prescribed nebulisation with 0.5 ml gentamycin+0.5 ml dexamethasone+1 ml acetilcysteinem for 30 minutes daily. He improved very slightly, but not cleared, so after 5 days of this, he got 7 days of lyncospectine. The dexa+acetylcisteine were interrupted after 5 days of lyncospectine, and gentamycin was administered for 3 more days after the lyncospectine. I'll do a breakdown of all under this:
Days 1-5 - fosbac+, prescribed dose is 1 mg/0.75l of water, since he wasn't drinking in the beginning, I chose to make it more concentrated and give the dose orally, split in 2 daily.
Days 6-9 - nebulisation with 0.5 ml gentamycin+0.5 ml dexamethasone+1 ml acetylcisteine, 30 minutes daily.
Days 10-14 - nebulisation with 0.5 ml gentamycin+0.5 ml dexamethasone+1 ml acetylcisteine, 30 minutes daily + 0.2 ml lyncospectine/daily
Days 15-16 - nebulisation with 0.5 ml gentamyicin+0.2 ml lyncospectine
Days 16-18 - nebulisation with 0.5 ml gentamycin.

After the interruption of dexa+acetylcisteine, his breathing got gradually worse, and he kept his beak open wider. At day 18, after the nebulisation, he started gasping for air, breathing fast with beak wide open. It was sunday evening, I could contact the vet only in the morning, but he didn't answer back until I insisted in the evening, when my bird had another gasping episode. I was told to give him a nebulisation with the usual dexamethasone and acetylcisteine dose. I got a visit on tuesday, where he was taken an x-ray of the lungs. The vet's conclusion from the x-ray was that his lungs and trachea are clear, and the symptoms could either be from parasites or a particular sensitivity to something. I was told to deworm him (only had ivermectine available), and that was done.

Since then, it has been a week, and his state is ups and downs. He is somewhat better during the day, and breathes harder during the night. On thursday he got another hard breathing episode and the vet recommended some drops in the nostrils - a human product containing dexamethasone and tobramycin. He breathed a bit better after it, but today at noon he was again gasping.At the vet advise we gave another round of the drops and were told to repeat them if it happens again after a couple of hours, and if it's still bad, to give him another round of nebulisation. My pigeon went through some ups and downs in the past few hours but we held administering more dexamethasone for things getting really bad.

On short, symptoms:
  • breathing with beak open. It varies from slightly open, to halfway open, sometimes breathing faster, sometimes more normal. He gets winded when flying even a little.
  • no discharges in eyes or nostrils. His beak and nose are clean.
  • he eats, preens and is generally active; he bathed this week, when I offered him a dish of warm water. He exercises his wings when he is left free in the room.
  • poops are sometimes watery - with solid bits in a puddle of liquid, sometimes fine. No strange colour or smell. The watery poops are newer, he had perfect poops throughout most of his treatment.
We gave him vitamins and acv in the water. He is probably around 4 months old, his eyes are just getting the adult colour. He weighs 235 grams. Eats seed, pigeon mix.
I cannot get a blood test or any other lab tests. The vet I go to is the only one in town I found that would even treat pigeons, and has some knowledge about birds, and he never did such tests. The others just decline.

It is heartwreching to watch him struggle and not even do anything, as he's basically been without any treatment for a week. Can you please advise me what to do? I'm attaching the x-ray and a video of him yesterday, in one of the worse breathing fits: New video by Oana Rusu
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Somewhat against the vet advise - as he was just telling me to give him more dexamethasone and I did not see any improvement, I started him on doxycicline on sunday, and also gave him nebulisation with F10 - something that I was advised to do by an avian vet in a pigeon facebook group I am in (I also checked the product uses online, as it is basically a veterinary disinfectant, and it did have dosage for nebulisation). His symptoms drastically improved, like the first time he got under treatment, but after 4 days it feels progress stopped. He's not gasping for air and his breathing isn't fast anymore, but he still breathes with his beak slightly open, and he "snorts" and "snores", like he has a blocked nose. Also breathes hard with beak open whenever he flies a bit more or gets excited or scared. Otherwise he is active, eats like a champion, and for the past 2 days woke us up with a small honky coo. He's starting to get very antsy about being isolated, he goes eagerly outside whenever we open the door to the room we keep him in and tries to follow my pigeons around (he's been in quarantine now for a month. I don't let him alone unsupervised, but I did start to allow him short trips around the house - cleaning any poop that happens in those minutes).
I was advised on that group I mentioned to give him doxy+enrofloxacine+some antifungal, but since I never got responses about dosages, and I only found individual dosing on the net, I was afraid to give him 2 medicines (and I have no idea what antifungal we could give). I'm giving him 4 mg of doxycicline daily, this coresponds to @15 mg/kilo (he's 240 grams). The vet told me to de-worm him 3 times a week apart, and I did the first dose, but the prospect on ivermectine says to wait 12-15 days between applications, so I didn't do the 2nd a week apart as I was told (should have been yesterday).
 

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I hope he keeps on improving. Can you get Nystatin from a pharmacy? You can use that as an anti-fungal to prevent yeast. Does not get absorbed into the body, very safe to use. Also works best on an empty crop, so wait half an hour before letting him eat. A pigeon needs 30 000 units per 100 gr birdweight twice a day. The suspension is usually 100 000 units per ml.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Unfortunately today he was worse. It's the 6th day of doxycicline, I don't know if I should continue, or what I should do.
I don't know about Nystatin, but from what I read, it doesn't go in the blood stream, and only treats fungus in crop/stomach? His crop and stomach are fine, his lungs seem affected.
 

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I use Ivermectin for eradication of trachea mites. Normal dose is indeed followed up after two week. If the infestation is severe, I do as was mentioned to you 3 doses separated by 1 week.
 

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I just looked at the video. Question: When the bird is laboring to breathe, do you notice his tail feathers rising up along with his labored breathing.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Marina, the dosage for doxycicline I got from my vet for another rescue a couple of months ago. I did find on a site the 10-50 mg/pigeon, which seemed pretty wild (which kind of pigeon? Kings are over 600 grams, the rescue I had then was a little less than 200 grams when I got her). And 10-50 is large margin. So I checked more sites and the vet confirmed that 15 mg/kilo of bird is the correct treatment dose, 25 mg/kilo being a severe treatment. I am very cautious with antibiotics, they can kill a bird as much as the disease. Still, if you have a sure source, can you share? At the moment, I have had so much conflicting info, I don't really know anymore.

John B, then I was wrong to not do as the vet prescribed, a week apart. Today it would be the 11th day. I'll give him the 2nd dose today and repeat after a week?

About the breathing, I have read about the tail bobbing. Sometimes he does it, sometimes not. It's not very pronounced in any case. He sometimes stays with his tail sort of down, but without bobbing it. In the latest video (the one posted yesterday) he wasn't doing it. He also tends to lay down to rest with his wings fairly open - is that relevant?

He had a pretty bad episode last night, around 4 am. Sounded like he was chocking, though he has no visible secretions. Exactly the sound we make when we have a heavily blocked nose. He made swallowing and coughing movements, like trying to get rid of something. I turned on the lights and he went to eat. Out of desperation , I did try to put 2 of those tobramycin+dexamethasone drops in his nose, but he was struggling like a devil, so I'm not sure how much I managed. Then I tried a pot of steaming chamomile and mint tea - have him breathe the steam that is - which he also wasn't really keen in, but I held him above it anyway, and it seemed to soothe him a little. He went back to sleep after. This morning he seems as "normal" as he gets. Woke up, made a small half choked sound and went to eat, then flew a couple of times from the floor to the top of the wardrobe.
Edit: he took a bath while I was away this morning. Should I withhold those? I only let him have one a week ago and today.
 

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Hi Saphira, I used doxycycline to treat a few birds. My vet gave me doxycycline 20 mg for dogs and cats (tablets)
.
This is the dosage I got from him.

Adult female collared dove:

- one tablet once a day for 3 days:

- half a tablet once a day for 7 days (then he decided to extend the treatment: so I gave half a tablet once a day for 10 days).

Total days treatment: 13 days

Adult female feral pigeon (I didn't weigh her but she is a massive pigeon, she is bigger than her husband):

- a tablet once a day for 10 days.

I followed the same dosage for another adult pigeon too.


Yes, the websites give a large margin: 10-50 mg.



Anyway, I hope I have been a help to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm now worried that giving him a low dose built a resistance, anybody know about that? Your bird was ok with that dose, right? Also, how did your bird manifest, when did you see improvement? I'm worried because after a week I'm seeing no real improvement. I mean, he's not gasping and very fast breathing anymore, but he's still breathing with beak open and I'd say still faster than normal.
This is the page I got my dosage from: http://avianmedicine.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/18.pdf
I'll try a 10 mg/day dose tomorrow and another chat with my vet on monday.
 

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Yes, all the birds were ok with the dosage given by my vet.
Each bird had a different issue. The one that we released after the treatment had respiratory issues and bad canker. I gave her both spartrix and doxycycline and she recovered. Honestly I don't remember when I saw improvement.

Of course, I know the problem of antibiotic resistance but I can't help you with your question (have you started doxycycline last Sunday?).
Here it is mentioned a research about impact of low levels of antibiotic over time but I think that the best thing is asking the question to your vet on Monday (the research mentions a prolonged exposure to low levels of antibiotic):


I don't know why but I could not see the video. I will try again.

I read that on the Facebook group they suggested an antifungal. I know that even yeasts could affect the respiratory tract. Here are two links:




You can read there :

"in the respiratory tract, Candida may cause nasal discharge, a change in the voice, difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, and inability to exercise".

I read that your bird does not have nasal discharge.

Also i want to ask : did the vet auscultate his lungs? Did he hear something strange?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yes, I started the doxycicline last Sunday, gave 4 mg daily until yesterday, when I gave him 6. Another mistake I might have done is giving him a supplement with vitamins that also contains minerals. The vet advised me to give him vitamins during antibiotics generally, and I tried to keep him in best shape. I also mixed it with tap water, which might have calcium traces, as our water is pretty hard. Problem is I got such mixed advise about dosing, I'm really at a loss. People seem to dose anything from 25 mg/kilo to 40 mg/kilo. I'm the kind of person that prefers to pay and trust a specialist, but I find my trust on shaky ground at them moment with my vet. I just wish they would run a lab test of some kind to determine what exactly it is, rather than stabbing in the dark. It's so frustrating that in other countries this seems to be a basic thing, yet I can't get it here. I feel like I'm experimenting on the poor thing's life.

The vet did listen to the lungs, but at the time I went to the vet, he was in a rather ok state. He was breathing with beak open but not rattling like he sometimes does. The rattling seems to happen more towards late afternoon/night. I went with him at the vet first time, he got prescribed the dexa+gentamycin+acetylcisteine nebulisation. After a week, there was some improvment but not cleared, and I went again with him to the vet - he got a shot of lyncospectin and I was given 4 more doses to give orally. After those finished, situation was still same so I got 2 more doses and was told to continue with the gentamycin, but cut the rest. After 4 days, my pigeon went into a crisis after the gentamycin treatment, gasping with beak wide open. I called the vet 1st thing in the morning (the crisis had happened on sunday) but he could only see him on tuesday, when he had that xray done, with the conclusion that everything seems normal. and the only possible issue would be parasites or an intolerance to something. As the week progressed with no treatment other than the deworming, his state deteriorated, but my vet was convinced he does not have an infection.

Here is the video uploaded on youtube:
About the discharge, he sounds like he has a blocked nose, but nothing ever came out of his nose or beak, both look clean. His breathing is sometimes rattling like in the video, sometimes has a whistling sound, sometimes there's no sound, just the open beak. His breath rate in the video is 50 breaths/minute. The video is one of the worse episodes. Sometimes at night he sounds like he's chocking on whatever is blocking his nose. I read all I could about respiratory diseases, but most seem to come with a discharge, and my pigeon doesn't have that visible.
 

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I've just read online that pigeons can get sinus canker and this can cause respiratory problems. I've never dealt with this issue in the past. If there is no improvement with the meds you are using, consider a new approach. Put him on metronidazole (10 mg per 100 gr birdweight) once a day and amoxycillin (12 to 15 mg per 100 gr birdweight twice a day) for 10 days. I've used both meds simultaneously in the past. The amoxy will also treat a respiratory infection.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
New issue with my pigeon: one of his nostrils is a little swollen and soft to the touch. I am scared ****less. Please, anybody knows what it is?
 

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Thanks, I could see the video on YouTube.

Have you talked to the vet today? What did he say about the swollen nostril?
Have you asked him about antibiotic resistance?

I know the formulary from which you got your dosage, I downloaded it too years ago.
I don't have any medical knowledge but as I read that many websites mention the dosage 10-50 mg per pigeon I thought that the dosage given by vet (which was different for pigeons and doves) seemed reasonable so I followed his instructions.

Yes, from what I read it's better to avoid calcium during doxycycline treatment because it reduces its efficacy.

I understand what you said about mixed advices: when my pigeon Caterina got yeasts I brought her to both my vets, they suggested me a different dosage of nystatin. I made researches online then I decided what was the best advice.

Even my vet does not have his own lab (for example, if you need a blood test he must send the blood sample to an external lab).

I understand your frustration. Is it maybe possible to show the x-ray to another vet and get a second opinion? Just to be sure...

Have you read something about aspergillosis? I read that, for example, fungal plaques could be in the nose, etc.




Here you can read an article about indicators of health in throat and head, it could maybe help you to understand if it's a respiratory infection.


Did the vet rule out the presence of an internal mass?

I heard too about sinus canker but I don't know anything about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I got my bird yesterday to the vet, he sounded so bad, he scared the vet too. He took some samples from his throat and nose (was quite traumatizing, my poor baby was so scared) and looked at them under a microscope for a long time. He said he found a lot of "inflamed cells" and bacterial activity, but nothing specific (he said many kinds of bacteria). He also listened to lungs and poked his crop in a specific way.

He said I was right to give him doxycicline and told me to go with it to 14 days, with the higher dose I had been using during the weekend (6 mg/day). He also decided, after a long thinking, to give him flagyl - he said it's mostly to boost the doxycicline and hopefully catch different kinds of bacteria. He also told me to start again nebulising with dexamethasone and acetylcisteine - twice a day, to give him some relief with breathing. I told the vet what I read about dexa, and he said he knows, but he does want to lower a little the immune response. I told him about the dose for pigeons, and he said to try half the former dose (so 0.25 ml) and only once a day, preferably before he gets worst (which is night time, so to do it in the evening). About acetylcisteine, I admit I only found it cause tachycardia in neonates. Still, I decided to go with minimal doses of both - 0.2 ml of dexa in the evening with 0.5 ml of acetylcisteine, and 0.5 acetylcisteine in the morning. I give the doxycicline in the morning and the flagyl in the evening. Yesterday my poor baby was so exhausted by not being able to breathe and by the whole day that I thought about starting today, and leave him alone for the night, but he started chocking again so I put him in the nebuliser. He calmed greatly and had a better night than anything in days. Today he breathed almost normally, and I did what I described above.

I'm not happy my baby is back on dexa and acetylcisteine. He was doing similar last time he was on them, but as soon as I stopped them, he got worse. Still, it's a relief to not see him gasping. He also taught me where the trachea is, and how to push the syringe back enough in the throat to not risk getting liquid in his lungs, as I was terrified I did that.
 
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