young bird season we see an increase in disease involving
the bacteria E.coli. E.coli is a normal inhabitant
of the digestive system of pigeons. It has disease
potential, but usually needs a predisposing condition
to allow it the opportunity to cause infection. Several
things can "open the door" for E.coli to
viral infections, intestinal parasites, and other
irritants f the bowel such as chemicals consumed while
fielding. The usual predisposing factor for young
birds is adenovirus. It begins appearing when birds
are mixed, either in training, races or when accumulating
birds from various sources.
adenovirus by itself will not cause disease, but in
the presence of E.coli, it allows the E.coli to cause
disease. Treating the E.coli infection usually eliminates
symptoms although it does nothing for the adenovirus
infection; this is usually conquered by the birds
own immune system with time. There is not an effective
vaccine for adenovirus, so we must just let it run
it's course as we try to control the E.coli during
during outbreaks of colibacillosis (E.coli infection),
we use a broad spectrum antibiotic such as Amoxicillin
to control it. Antibiotics will not prevent it so
use them only during an outbreak. The symptoms usually
include vomiting in some of the birds, abnormal droppings
or diarrhea, and lethargy.
birds will not train or race well during an uncontrolled
outbreak. A fecal culture and sensitivity study will
allow oneto choose the correct antibiotic to use.
Often we just go with one that has a good "track
record," and that has little or no effect on
the birds, allowing one to continue training, etc.
is my first choice of antibiotics when "shooting
from the hip". It is gentle on the pigeon and
is the least expensive of the good antibiotics. Use
3 Grams per gallon for about 7 days. Retreatment is
often necessary, as things may deteriorate within
the weeks after treating, as the viral infection spreads
through the flock.
not forget not to use antibiotics as a preventive.
They will not work as preventive, but will only allow
the bacteria to become resistant to it, then it won't
work when we really need it
David E. Marx D.V.M.