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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I have a single, 4 year old pet pigeon that lives indoors. He has free rein of the house and and large cage that he is only in at night or if I need to go out. No other birds or animals.

He has developed what seems to be a one eye cold. His right eye is watery, red (no swelling) and he is scratching at it. He sneezes and shakes his head frequently. Left eye is completely normal. Droppings look normal. He is eating and drinking normally. Only behavioural change is he doesn't want his baths when I offer them, which isn't like him. He's getting a bit grubby and dusty as he wont wash and is preening less. Other than that, he's still very vocal and showy and busy building newspaper nests everywhere.

He had a similar condition about 2 years ago. It turned out to be Trichomoniasis and he was treated with flagyl and got better. He's negative for that this time. He's been to the vets about 3 times over the past month, 2 rounds of Doxycycline injections and 7 and 10 day oral Enrotril antibiotic courses. Also with an oral anti inflammatory. Symptoms improve on medication but return a couple of days after completion. I'm going back to the vets tomorrow and would like to take some suggestions in case they've missed anything as they think it's a bit of a mystery. I really love the little bugger and I hate to see him in such discomfort.

Red, weeping right eye.
Clear and white discharge from right nare.
Scratching at right side ear, eye and cere. (some feather loss around eye)
Disinterest in baths and preening. Looking a bit disheveled.

Here's a list of tests he's had to rule some things out.

Had a crop wash(x2), faecal smear(x2) blood test and fungal swab.
Trich/ Canker - tested and cleared. Given spartrix to be sure
Coccidia - tested and cleared.
Gram stain bateria test (x2)- negative
Blood test - infection present, cause unknown.
nasal flush - in case something was stuck up there. nothing came out.
Worms and mites - tested and cleared - treated to be sure with moxidectin.
Chlamydia - tested 3 years ago - negative - not retested as no other bird contact.
PMV - tested 3 years ago - negative - not retested as no other bird contact.
Mycoplasma - unsure if tested, will have to ask vet. Do they test for this at the same time as chlamydia or would this be included in the gram stain bacteria test?
Weight - lowish on first vet visit. Has put on 10g over treatment period.
Not currently moulting.

Allergies? - Vet thinks unlikely.
Mass or blockage? Maybe - probably requires CT scan.
Eye damage? - not likely. He had his little eyeballs thoroughly checked.
Vitamin deficiency? - Don't know. Will only eat specific brand of budgie/canary mix and pink pigeon grit. Refuses crushed peanuts, peas, corn and greens.

Things I've tried since he's gotten sick, extra to medication:
A couple of drops of Apple cider vinegar in water.
Saline solution eye drops when eye appears irritated.
Keeping food and water checked and clean, as well as cage clean morning and night. (only cleaned with aviary safe clearer and dish soap for containers).
Warm heat pack every night (which he happily sits and sleeps on).
We have a no scented candle or aerosols in bird areas rule, so can't be irritation form that.

That's just about everything I can think of. Thanks for reading. Any suggestions or thoughts welcome. I'll include a picture of him in all his glory and then a picture of his sore eye below.

Bird Eye Beak Feather Wing
Bird Beak Feather Falconiformes Wing

1,241 Posts
Sounds a lot like a vitamin A deficiency, which can lead to respiratory tract infections that don't respond well to oral or injected antibiotics (because the infection may be in the sinuses.) Try running some bits of carrot or bell pepper through a blender and adding them to the bird's drinking water a few days per week to supply plenty of vitamin A in a safe form. If there is no change within a week, then that's not the problem.

Clinical signs are nasal discharge, sneezing, periorbital swelling, conjunctivitis, dyspnea, polyuria and polydipsia, poor feather quality, feather picking, and anorexia. Birds may have absent or blunted papilla of the choanal slit. White plaques (hyperkeratosis) may develop in and around the mouth, eyes, and sinuses. In chronic epithelial conditions (eg, pododermatitis, sinusitis, and conjunctivitis) that have been refractory or recurrent, often vitamin A deficiency is the primary cause. Birds with reproductive disease on poor diets should be considered deficient.
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