Currently, the corona virus dominates our daily lives. We cannot go where we want because of this harmful virus. The time that a corona vaccine is developed is unprecedented. Let's hope it will allow us to "fly free" again soon.
With our pigeons, there is also a persistent virus that can seriously hamper the young pigeon season. This used to be known as " Adeno " or " Adeno-coli ". New scientific insights and research clearly show that the current outbreaks are more caused by the Rotavirus, possibly in combination with other viruses.
Unfortunately, when there are disease outbreaks, strict quarantine and isolation is less applicable to our racing pigeons. However, these days it is possible to quickly find the cause with specific tests. In addition, an autovaccine can be produced very quickly - in human terms! These vaccines are already available to protect all your young pigeons against the current circulating viruses.
Important to know is that young pigeons are much more susceptible to infections than old pigeons. Mainly because their immune system is still in full development! It is not easy to determine the cause with certainty from a few general symptoms (e.g. vomiting, diarrhea). Usually, disease symptoms in young pigeons are caused by a combination of different viruses, bacteria and sometimes parasites. A good advice: contact your veterinarian at the first indications of illness. By taking a sample, all doubts can be removed - because in this way, the exact cause can be determined and can be treated very quickly, targeted and specific!
Below you can find a very brief overview of the most circulating diseases in our young pigeons. For the most pathogens below, a customized vaccine, strains present in the own pen, can be made. Instead of a symptomatic treatment in case of an outbreak, you can treat in the long term by vaccination! This way you do not delay the problem for one year!
Rotavirus is a so-called "emerging disease". In 2016, a passage of Rotavirus caused massive mortality in (racing) pigeons in Australia. After worldwide research, several variants were identified which, depending on the strain, caused mild symptoms to mortality. The "classic rota", which infects mainly the intestines, occurs at a young age, because the immunity at intestinal level is still in full development and the pigeons grow fastly. The most characteristic symptoms are gastrointestinal, such as diarrhea, emaciation, vomiting and death. The virus causes almost exactly the same clinical picture as the previous "adeno". But there is an effective vaccine against it that protects the young pigeons.
Adeno is divided into two different types. With young pigeons it is mainly type 1 that is important. It usually appears in early spring when the pigeons are " trained " and come into contact with conspecifics from other lofts. Type 2 occurs at all ages and during the whole year. The virus causes damage to the intestines and disturbs the digestion. The typical symptoms are diarrhea, yellow-green, watery, smelly manure and vomiting. It spreads quickly within the young pigeons on the pens. Because of the disturbed digestion and intestinal damage, bacteria, fungi and parasites have free access and secondary infections develop. Today there is no effective vaccine that guarantees protection in young pigeons. Support and suppression of other diseases is important.
Many pigeons are carriers of the herpesvirus but show no symptoms during periods of rest and good health. The virus flares up when the immunity is disturbed by periods of stress such as intensive training (flights), breeding or other diseases. Young pigeons often get infected by direct contact with the parents through the feeding of crop milk. The symptoms that are noticed when an infection is present are very diverse such as respiratory problems, on-eye-cold, loss of condition, digestive disorders and acute mortality. There is an effective vaccine against the herpes virus that protects young.
Circovirus is typically a disease for young pigeons. The virus affects young pigeons before the age of 6 months. The predilection place of the virus is the immune system; it causes a weakness in the general defence. Like this, bacteria and viruses have an easy time. The symptoms are quite general, from problems with the digestive system, respiratory system, loss of condition to mortality in the worst case. Today, no working vaccine exists that provides good protection. With a good vaccination schedule, you can prevent outbreaks of multi-pathogen diseases and reduce the severity of symptoms.
This bacterium is better known as paratyphoid among fanciers. The infectious route is orally (from the environment). The pathogen multiplies in the intestine and spreads through the blood to different organs. Emaciation, diarrhea, green manure, joint deterioration, wing paralysis, nervous symptoms and acute mortality can be noticed. In addition to antimicrobial treatment, it is very important to protect your pigeons long-term – by prevention of the disease through vaccination! An important diagnostic tool is feacal investigation for Salmonella.
Escherichia Coli is a bacterium that is present in the intestine of all pigeons as a normal intestinal inhabitant. This bacterium can overgrow other bacteria and cause problems after a virus (adeno, rota, circo, ...) has damaged the intestines or compromised the immune system. Often, the bacteria remain locally in the gut where they cause diarrhea and loss of condition. In some cases, the infection can spread through the bloodstream to other organs and cause other symptoms than those linked to the digestive tract.
This bacterium, like E. coli, is a normal intestinal inhabitant that can cause problems after an immunosuppression. When infected, the germ spreads from the intestine to various organs. The symptoms are more vague than in other infections. Thus, mortality, paralysis, limping, slimy droppings and polyuria may be seen.
General advice: after appropriate antimicrobial treatment, fast and effective vaccines can be administered against these bacteria. This is essential to avoid problems in the future and not to have to treat every time – especially, since this is also harmful for your pigeons.