pigeon control

Diseases Commonly Suffered by Pigeons (Part I)

When the words "diseases" and "pigeons" are used in a single sentence, we often only concern ourselves with how these two words interplay in the human health. Seldom do we think about the diseases that pigeons suffer from since most of the time we worry about the diseases that we catch because of these birds. This article is all about the illnesses and diseases that have contributed to massive pigeon casualties every year. The diseases which will be discussed in this article are Canker, Coccidiosis, Collibacillosis and One-eyed Colds. For the other diseases please refer to my other posts (you can find these articles in the archive section below).

1. Trichomoniasis Canker

Canker is considered to be the most common disease that pigeons suffer from. Most birds get infected by this disease by drinking unsafe water which may contain dangerous microscopic protozoans. Although this disease is not very harmful to the actual sufferer, the bird casualties associated to this disease is due to the fact that sick birds cannot effectively feed their young. Thus, many squabs (young pigeons) die each year because of the inability of the parents to rear them.

An infected bird is easy to spot because of their changed behaviour as well as the physical signs which the birds might show. You can tell that a pigeon has Canker if it becomes lethargic, staying only on one place without moving or without doing other activities. Examples of physical changes, the most obvious are: loss weight, diarrhoea and ugly, ruffled feathers. Although this disease has no record to being transferred to humans, it is still wise if you know how to prevent it. For pigeons, you can use anti-fungal products to control the stress that they would feel after ingesting the dangerous protozoans that cause the disease. Of course since it is impossible to make sure that the birds will only drink from clean water sources, the best that you can do is to secure the birds themselves by monitoring and controlling the feeds that you give them (this is especially true if you allow your birds to roam around). There are anti-canker products which you can use too. These products/drugs are better because they really target the problem.

2. Coccidiosis

Just like Canker, this one is also caused by microorganisms that live inside the intestines of birds. Coccidiosis is not as common in pigeons as it is in some other birds but many pigeons in the city are still found out to have this kind of disease. Fortunately, only young pigeons are susceptible to this disease because adult pigeons have somehow developed a kind of immunity to it. Nevertheless, young pigeons which are subjected to stress caused by different circumstances can die because of this disease. Coccidiosis kills the little birds by taking away their appetite to eat or drink. The birds would become lethargic and would prefer sleep over other activities. After sometime, the birds will lose so much weight and energy that its body will collapse. Birds infected with this disease can be identified through their droppings. When they have Coccidiosis, their droppings will look green and would come out watery.

Anti-fungal products are enough to prevent Coccidiosis. If you are keeping pigeons, you might as well improve the cleanliness of their lofts. As much as possible, make sure that the feeds and the droppings will make no contact. The water that you give your birds should also be cleaned and sanitized. If you are adding a new pigeon to your flock, take the time to isolate the new birds first and see if it is a carrier of some disease, most especially Coccidiosis.

3. Collibacillosis

This disease is more commonly called as E. coli and it is somehow prevalent among pigeons. Most pigeons catch this disease through dust particles mixed with airborne E.coli bacteria. The bacteria come from their droppings or from the droppings of rodents. This disease is quite difficult to control once one of the birds catches it because almost immediately, the E. coli in its droppings will become airborne too and infect the other birds in the loft. Thus, the best way to deal with this disease is to prevent it from happening. The best way to do so is to keep the lofts clean and sanitary. Do not allow rodents to find where you keep your bird feeds because they might infect the feeds and leave behind dropping which carry E. coli. You can also monitor the ammonia level in the loft to be extra sure. Birds infected with E. coli can be identified through their droppings too. The droppings would be loose, greenish and is sticky. The birds would also lose weight because of fast bowel movement and they would develop respiratory problems.

When a bird is found out to have E. coli, it is best if it is given proper shots of antibiotic, over-the-counter antibiotics will do. If this does not help, you can resort to higher dosages of antibiotic; just consult with a veterinarian to know which antibiotic to choose. If you medicate you bird without a professional advice, you might end up hurting the bird even more since wrong antibiotics can damage the bird's micro flora.

4. One-Eye Colds

Just like what the name suggests the birds with this disease can be identified through their eyes. Both eyes would become watery and to some extent one would be completely shut because of the infection. The eye can swell up and continue to water until the lids can't separate anymore. This disease is often caused by a simply physical injury in the eye. Because of the way the injury evolves into an infection, many people often confuse One-eye colds with mycoplasmosis (another pigeon disease with the same onset symptoms). To keep injured birds safe from this infection, you have to make sure that your cages or lofts are not overcrowded with birds. Overcrowding can compromise the cleanliness of the lofts which can lead to having airborne pathogens of different kinds of diseases and infections.
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