Pigeon Diseases

Canker (Trichomoniasis)

Cause: The most common pigeon disease found. It is usually transmitted through drinking water and through parents feeding there young.

Symptoms: Infected birds show a reduction in activity, ruffled feathers, loss of weight, increased water intake, and diarrhea. Cheesy yellowish deposits can often be observed in the mouth or throat. In advanced stages a stringy mucous and putrid odor can be detected in the mouth. Young birds are most susceptible to Canker.

Prevention - Control stress with half dosage of Improver and AntiFungal, this will control the stress to 0 in the birds.

  • Maintain regular feed and withering schedules

  • Sanitize waterers regularly

  • Isolate and observe any newly acquired birds for several weeks

  • Administer an anti-canker drug or Improver on a regular basis throughout the year. Veterinary recommendations vary from once every three months to once a month. This will depend upon incidence and susceptibility in your own flock.


Cause: This highly infection and very common disease is caused is caused by a protozoan that infects the intensities of our birds. It usually present to some degree in all pigeons, but most adult birds have developed enough immunity to the disease to remain healthy. Most often infected are young pigeons or birds that have been subjected to severe stress (i.e., racing, showing, lack of feed/water, or relocation). Adult birds may become infected from drinking unclean water or from being in contact with moist droppings.

Symptoms: Infected birds have little or no desire to eat or drink, will remain puffed up on perches, lack any desire to move and often close their eyes. Droppings are usually very loose, greenish in color and may become very watery. Loss of weight occurs, and death can occur in young birds.

Prevention - Use Improver and AntiFungal, keep lofts dry and sanitary. Do not allow feed to come into contact with droppings, and regularly disinfect drinkers. Do not allow birds to drink from gutters or mud puddles, and keep feed and water free from contact with rodents. Always isolate new birds as described earlier, as they are a primary target for the spread of coccidiosis. Returning race birds should be given a preventive treatment shortly after their return, especially if out over night. Baskets should be disinfected weekly.


E. coli (Collibacillosis)

Cause: This disease, which is now though to be more prevalent in pigeons than once suspected, is caused by gram negative bacteria's which can invade our lofts through infected dust particles, rodent droppings, and trough infected pigeon droppings coming into contact with eggs in the nest. Infected adult pigeons will emit the bacteria throughout a pigeon loft.

Symptoms: Since the E. coli bacteria can manifest themselves in any part of the pigeon's body, symptoms can be diverse. Most often young will die in the nest, adult birds will become listless and lose weight, and their droppings will become loose, mucous, and greenish-yellow in appearance. Sometimes the droppings will have a foul odor. Occasionally some birds may have nasal discharges and respiratory problems associated with this disease.

Prevention - Maintaining good loft hygiene and keeping rodents away from feed and water are very important. Also keeping dust and ammonia levels down will help to control any outbreaks. General Antibiotics: Any fancier would be well advised to have a good general antibiotic in his medicine chest. They can be useful as "first choice" drugs if and when problems occur. General antibiotics are effective against a broad range of both gram positive and negative bacteria. But excessive use of them can really damage the microflora of the bird, therefore most veterinarian suggest a use of Improver as it is called 'green antibiotic' and will have the same effect that any anitbiotic, but will leave the good bacterias and keep the balance of the pigeon intact.


One-Eye Colds

Cause: Often confused with the onset of mycoplasmosis, one - eye colds are usually associated with a peck in the eye or some other type of physical injury affecting the eye. One-eye colds can also be caused by improper ventilation, drafts or dampness in the loft.

Symptoms: A watery or mucous discharge in only one eye is usually the symptom most commonly noticed, but occasionally both eyes will have watery appearances. Sometimes one eye can become completely shut, depending upon the degree of infection.

Prevention - Maintaining proper ventilation and not allowing overcrowded conditions to manifest themselves in our lofts will go a long way in preventing one-eye colds. It is also considered good loft hygiene to keep dust levels to a minimum, as many types of infectious bacteria are carried by dust particles.


Salmonellosis (Paratyphoid)

Cause: This very common and quite widespread is caused by a gram-negative bacterium which is flagellated, therefore mobile. It can be brought into a loft either through introduction of infected pigeons, by rodents, through inhalation of infected dust, on the soles of fanciers shoes, by roaches, or through contact with wild pigeons. Often an adult bird that has overcome the disease remains a carrier and continues to produce infected droppings.

Symptoms: Salmonella flagellates can be found throughout the body in severely infected birds. Thus, a variety of symptoms is possible. Most adult birds will show rapid weight loss, along with somewhat loose, greenish droppings. Some birds may develop swelling in the leg joints or feet, or may develop wing boils. Other birds may have the "twisted neck" syndrome commonly associated with PMV. Baby birds will often show labored breathing or die in the nest before the second week after hatching. Another symptom young dying in the egg.

Prevention - Loft hygiene is critical, because salmonella flagellates can live in the droppings for some time. But once AntiFungal and Improver are given in the drinking water of the pigeons, the droppings will stop being infected with salmonella.Regular cleaning and disinfecting of lofts, feeders and drinkers is imperative. Minimizing contact with rodents, roaches and wild birds, quarantining newly acquired birds, and maintaining an acid pH level below 4.0 thanks to Improver in our lofts are all helpful steps in keeping this disease under control. Several veterinarians have recommended the use of Nolvasan disinfectant together with Improver at one teaspoon per gallon (4.5 liters) of drinking water regularly to help maintain an acidic environment in the droppings. Regular use of the Improver against salmonella has proven to be especially effective

An after race mix that quickly restores fluids and minerals lost from stressful exertion. Composition: . Potassium Chloride; Malto Dextrin; Sucrose; Sodium; Chloride; Zince Sulfate; Manganese Sulfate; Ferrius Sulfate Calcium Propionate; Orange Flavoring; Mineral Oil Dosage and Administration: . 1 teaspoon per 1 gallon of drinking water upon return from race to restore electrolyte


Pigeon Pox

Pigeon pox is caused by a virus belonging to the poxvirus group, a group of viruses that cause disease in many species. The avipoxvirus subgroup includes a number of closely related viruses such as fowl pox, pigeon pox and canary pox.

There are two clinical forms of pigeon pox, probably associated with different sources of infection. The most common method of transmission results from mosquito bites. Obviously, the resultant lesions will appear on featherless areas of the body, e.g. on the eyelids, around the beak and occasionally elsewhere on the body. The lesions start as small papules and gradually progress to a wart-like thick dark scab. Eventually the scabs will fall off and complete healing generally takes place within four weeks of infection. This form of the disease is seldom life-threatening and is often more of a nuisance in racing pigeons as it results in a break in the training program.

The second form of pigeon pox is probably due to droplet (aerosol) infection and involves the mucous membranes of the mouth, pharynx, larynx and trachea. This is often referred to as the wet form of pigeon pox as the lesions on the mucous membranes are soft and cheesy in nature. This is a far more serious form of the disease. Affected pigeons appear very sick, stop eating, have difficulty in breathing and generally lose a lot of weight. Mortality mostly results from asphyxiation due to blockage of the respiratory tract by the necrotic material or else from secondary bacterial infections with the formation of toxins.

Occasionally a mixed form may occur with cutaneous scabs as well as soft lesions in the respiratory or even the intestinal tract. This mixed form is more common in racing pigeons and may be due to the presence of predisposing conditions. The crowding of racing pigeons in baskets often leads to fighting with resultant skin lesions which will allow entry of virus. The very close contact between such pigeons will also facilitate contact transmission resulting in the cutaneous as well as the mucosal form.

To control pigeon pox, exposure to biting insects such as mosquitoes should be minimised or prevented. However, this is hardly possible especially during the racing season. The only practical alternative is to immunise pigeons before they can become naturally infected.

Vaccination, in most instances, amounts to controlled exposure of pigeons to field strains of virus by applying the virus to a part of the body where least damage would result. Squabs five weeks or older should be immunised. The directions for use described in the package insert that accompanies the vaccine should be carefully followed. There are basically two methods of vaccine application. In the one (scratch method) a hypodermic needle (supplied in the package) is dipped into the vaccine and one or two scratches made in the skin of the breast. This method requires some skill - if the scratch is too superficial, the virus will not "take" and no local lesion will develop. Should the scratch be too deep and a fair amount of blood exudes from the wound, the vaccine is flushed out, with no resultant "take". In the absence of a local lesion there is no certainty that the pigeon will develop immunity. This method is very popular with most pigeon fanciers but the immunity following vaccination is often variable as a result of the variable percentage of "takes".

The most effective method is the so-called "follicle method". About five feathers are plucked out on the lower leg and vaccine applied by means of a brush that has been dipped into the vaccine. Follicular lesions develop within 7-10 days and although the lesions may look unsightly for a few days, they disappear completely after 2-3 weeks. The general health of such vaccinated pigeons is not affected but the resultant immunity is of high quality and good duration.

From time to time complaints are received about the efficacy of the vaccine and suggestions are made about possible mutations in field virus leading to incomplete protection by the vaccine. It is highly unlikely that the failures can be ascribed to genetic mutations. Poxviruses in general are genetically very stable, and unlike influenza viruses are not prone to continuous genetic variation.

However, MEDPET will soon be conducting trials in cooperation with Dr Baltus Erasmus, a veterinary virologist from Deltamune, to compare field isolates of pigeon pox virus with the strain that is currently employed in the vaccine. Should the results indicate significant differences a new candidate will be selected to replace the current vaccine strain. MEDPET is looking into the possibility of supplying a brush with Medipox vaccine in future to enable users to utilise the follicle methods of vaccination.



Causes and symptoms: Paramyxovirus or PMV-1 is a viral infection unique to pigeons and is extremely contagious, especially in the racing sport where hundreds or thousands of birds are mixed and confined prior to release. Direct contact or indirect contact through contaminated feed, water or litter can spread the disease. Symptoms include extremely loose, watery droppings, lack of appetite, ruffled feathers poor coordination, and sometimes paralysis of wings and legs. In advanced stages, birds will show "twisted neck" symptoms and many birds will die.

Prevention - Currently in the U.S and Europe, the only effective means of protection is by vaccination with the Maine Biological oil-adjuvant PMV-1 vaccine. Many fanciers are using the LaSota vaccine, thinking that they are protecting their birds, but challenge tests using LaSota vaccine was not effective in producing antibodies for the pigeon PMV-1 virus. While the LaSota vaccine was effective for short duration protection for Newcastle's disease, this disease is almost non-existent in pigeons and should be differentiated fromPMV-1.


Adeno Virus

Cause and Symptoms: Only birds whose immune systems are suppressed are vulnerable to this disease. There are two types of Adeno Virus that infect pigeons. Type 1 affects young pigeons primarily and causes vomiting and diarrhea, from which many birds recover. Type 2 is contracted by older pigeons and strikes the liver, with most affected birds dying within 24 hours. Some birds display a fluid yellow diarrhea and vomiting before death. But the main sign is sudden death, occurring within 24 hours of the onset. None of the affected birds live longer than 48 hours. E. coli often accompanies Type 1 ( which is associated with young pigeons ) and complicates the infection, making the diarrhea and vomiting more severe and adding respiratory symptoms. This Type 1 Adeno Virus/E. coli sometimes successfully treated with antibiotics. Cases that are the best managed are those in which the loft environment is good and in which all secondary diseases like canker and coccidiosis are treated so that birds are best able to fight the virus.

Prevention - Adeno virus is always present in a young bird, and it erupts when the immune system or fails. It is important to wait until the 12-th week for any type of vaccination. There is currently no vaccine that is proven to be effective against Adeno Virus. It's also important to keep stress in the loft at a minimum with AntiFungal and Improver and to boost pigeons' general health with vitamin supplements that are already included in Pigeon Vitality products, etc


Pigeon Malaria

Cause: This fairly common pigeon disease is caused by a protozoan that attacks the red blood cells of our birds. It is primarily carried by the pigeon fly, which acts as the intermediate host. Random tests of pigeon flocks have shown as much as a 30% malaria rate.

Symptoms: Symptoms are vague. Except for some loss of gloss in plumage and reduced performance in racing events, there are no readily visible symptoms.

Prevention - Since the pigeon fly is the primary carrier of this disease, it is imperative that these flies be controlled. It' important to quarantine newly acquired birds, dust or dip birds after they have mingled with others, and eliminate contact wild pigeons, because curing this disease is very difficult
Drinking fountain-Cleaning brush The cleaning brush is very flexible and handy. For the inside cleaning of glass drinking fountain in all sizes.


Respiratory infections - Mycoplasmosis & Ornithosis

Cause: These diseases all fall into the infectious bacterial category. Coryza is actually the descriptive term used to identify the thick mucous discharges usually associated with both Mycoplasmosis catarrh and Ornithosis. The bacteria ( termed Chlamydia in the case of Ornithosis ) lodge in the upper respiratory tract and can be extremely hard to completely eradicate. Often, infected birds never completely recover. Although their external symptoms may disappear, they can remain carriers for life.

Symptoms: The classic symptoms of respiratory infections include mucous in the throat, open beak and heavy breathing, rasping or gurgling while breathing, watery discharge from eyes, sometimes associated with swelling in the eye area. Other symptoms include discharge from the nasal area. and occasionally air sac swelling or crop swelling as torn air sacs trap air under the skin. As is usually the case with pigeons, other diseases can quickly manifest themselves when birds are in distress, so other symptoms can occur, such as loose, greenish droppings and loss of weight. Most often the only noticeable difference in our birds will be their unwillingness to fly or their complete failure in the racing events. Respiratory infections are the most damning it racing fanciers because many populations are carriers of the disease in one form or another, and symptoms are hard to identify. But results will definitely be diminished.

Prevention - The most important aspects in controlling respiratory infections are adequate ventilation without drafts, keeping dust and ammonia levels low ( which means keeping droppings from accumulating ) and controlling dampness and overcrowding Since tests have indicated that in some areas as much as 70% of the wild pigeon population is either infected with or carries respiratory disease, it would be wise to limit contact with feral birds. Since sporadic drug treatment at inadequate levels can cause rapid resistance to medication, always treat with effective drugs for the recommended length of time. Proper quarantining of new birds is also a must.


Worm Diseases

Cause: The most common worms found in pigeons today are roundworms hair worms, stomach wall worms, gapeworms, stromglylids and tapeworms.

Symptoms: - The symptoms vary with the type of infestation, and conceivably pigeons can live with slight infestations and show no ill effects. Severe infestations generally cause droopiness, loss of weight and some diarrhea. Gapeworms can cause breathing problems. The best way to determine if a worm problem exists is to have the droppings checked.

Prevention - Clean, sanitary lofts are most beneficial to keeping worms in check, but since pigeons often mingle with many hundreds of other birds, a bird can become infested through ingestion of worm eggs from the basket or through contact with stray pigeons. Therefore, it is advisable to develop a preventative worming program in which all birds are wormed at least twice a year.


External Parasites

The most common external parasites that effect coop birds are feather lice, red mites, pigeon flies, and mosquitoes. Since parasites can occur in almost any climate, they must be accounted for when planning a loft strategy.

Feather lice chew holes into the flights or cause other types of visible damage to the birds feathers. This can disqualify or reduce the points of a show pigion, or can significantly reduce a racing pigeon's performance.
The common red mite can be a real problem in some lofts if it becomes established. They are nocturnal and come out at night to feed on the blood of birds. Besides being a nuisance and not allowing the flock to rest properly, they can help to spread diseases.

The pigeon fly is probably the most dangerous parasite that can attack birds. It lives most of its life on birds, leaving only to lay its eggs somewhere in the loft. Pigeon flies bite the birds often, and besides causing considerable discomfort, they can be a major cause of pigeon malaria.

Mosquitoes would have to be considered the next worst parasite, simply because they are found in almost all climates. They are the most common carrier of the pigeon pox virus.

There are numerous precautions you can take within bird lofts to help control external parasites. In the case of lice, pigeon flies, and even mites, this mostly involves controlling their numbers by quarantining any new birds, and dipping or dusting the birds with pesticides. By keeping our lofts clean, we can eliminate many of the places where mites and flies can hide their eggs.



Sometimes our birds develop diarrhea, often just after medication treatments or high stress, so we wonder how they could be sick when we have just treated them. Often, the birds aren't actually sick, but they do have the loose droppings of sick birds because of the chemical imbalance created by the loss of the lactobacillus bacteria or " friendly bacteria " which inhabit our pigeon's gut and help the digestive process. By using AntiFungal together with Improver you will reduce the stress dramatically and the good bacterias will stay protected in the pigeons which will keep the microflora perfectly in shape. The guts and digestive process will act normal naturally.