Lanneau Veterinarian - Screen your lofts
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Paratyphus is caused by a bacteria called
Salmonella Typhimurium var. Copenhaeghen.
is a very difficult disease because in
most of the times it is a subclinical
disease, this means that you don’t
see anything at a pigeon, that can be
infected with the bacteria!! The bacteria
can be present for a long time, before
you ever saw any problem.
of the time the pigeons will be infected
orally, the bacteria goes into the intestines
and further on it will go via blood and
lymph into the different organs, which
can lead to abscesses over there.
The origin of infection is most of the
time feed or water that is dirty and infected
with Salmonella, the baskets, feral pigeons,
but also pigeons you just bought can be
a source of infection.
It is also possible that the embryos already
are infected during the fertilization
or afterwards when the bacteria goes into
the shell of the egg.
aware if a pigeon (breeder) suddenly starts
to loose weight, a bit diarrhea, and (in
most cases) dies very fast. In that case
you always have to think on paratyphus
that can be the cause. Especially during
moult and the breeding period, the pigeons
are a bit stressed, and have not so much
resistance against all diseases. When
Salmonella is slumbering in your loft,
it can suddenly explode. Than you can
see pigeons with a wing node, they can’t
fly into their nests, they are crippled…
Now and then you can see that they turn
with their head and that there are different
little abscesses especially on the head.
During breeding season, the lay can be
delayed, plenty of clear or black eggs
can be seen. Also youngsters from 5-10
days old can die in the nest, or they
don’t grow up like they should do,
have some diarrhea, are paralised or the
feathers are not developed like it should
greatest problem with Salmonella is that
there are plenty of subclinical carriers.
The pigeons don’t look ill, but
they can secrete the bacteria and infect
the other pigeons without you ever saw
Be careful with pigeons you just bought,
put them in quarantine, and screen them
if you are not sure about the absence
be sure you have or (even better) don’t
have paratyphus in your lofts, there are
are good to detect the presence of the
bacteria when the test is positive, when
the test is negative, you can’t
be sure your pigeons don’t have
the bacteria. You can also determine the
level of a specific blood parameter, that
can give us an indication of the presence
of an infection with paratyphus earlier.
more suitable way of diagnosis is the
bacteriological culture on samples of
the droppings you gathered for 5 days
. Why 5 days? If you only take the droppings
of one day it can be possible that the
level of the bacteria at that specific
moment was very low, so the result is
for that moment negative. If you take
droppings from 5 days the reliability
of the test will be much higher!!
Of course, if the number of pigeons is
very high in one loft, it would be better
to divide the loft into different samples,
so the presence of the bacteria will not
be much diluted, and the reliability of
the test is in that way also high!! You
can compare that with a loft of 100 pigeons
with one white-flight in. It is much more
difficult to recognize the white –flight
in 100 pigeons than when he is in a loft
with only 20 pigeons.
You can take some samples of the different
lofts, or also from specific pigeons that
you just bought or that don’t do
the thing you expected from.
against paratyphus is not an easy job,
don’t underestimate it!!!
important things you have to remember:
of the lofts and Medical part.
of the loft is very important, and means
that you have to kill all the pigeons
that are infected with the bacteria After
this you have to clean the loft and disinfect
it (for example with javel or CID)
that are of great value, you can put in
quarantine, treat them and only let them
in the flock when you are sure they are
negative for paratyphus, this means, only
when the culture of the droppings is negative.
the breeding immediately, because the
youngsters will almost always be right
and overcrowding is of no good!!
part exists out of two parts.
such as Baytril®, is one of the most
effective drugs against paratyphus for
Many people ask if it is right to treat
their lofts against paratyphus, before
the breeding or racing period, and also,
with which medication?
It is difficult to give here a very quick
answer, because there are many factors
to keep in mind.
First off all, if it is not necessary
to treat, don’t treat.
But it is very difficult to know when
it is necessary or not. To know if you
have paratyphus in your loft, you can
do a bacteriologic culture of the droppings,
if this is negative it is better to treat
the pigeons, if you want to treat them
preventive against paratyphus, with trimethoprim-sulfonamides
against paratyphus is also very good curative.
The death vaccines are a very good help
curative, after you treated the pigeons
for minimum 10 days with an antibiotic,
then you vaccinate them. In that way they
become stronger and will be able to shedder
the bacteria less.
Preventive it is not so good, it will
be able to diminish the death caused by
paratyphus but they can still become ill.
Living, weakened vaccines should give
a better immunity preventive.
you vaccinate, do this always after a
treatment, if you don’t do this,
it can be possible that the pigeons are
already infected before the vaccination
and that they become ill due to the vaccination.
Vaccination is the same as giving the
pigeons the disease, but weakened, so
they can make a resistance, and will not
Vaccinate always as prescribed!!
all this, it is of the greatest importance
to screen your lofts very frequently.
After you had some troubles, you have
to let make a culture of the droppings
after 2 months, when this is negative,
then you have to do this every 6 months.
if you don’t see any problem, it
is very important to know if your loft
is infected –even subclinical- with
paratyphus. A screening before breeding
and a screening before racing is recommended!!
is of a very high importance how you take
the different samples!!.
Like I said earlier, the bacteria is secreted
not continuously. This makes that there
are some important things to remember
when you take samples of the droppings
to let them analyze for Salmonellosis.
When you want to screen your lofts, without
having or seeing specific problems, you
have to take samples from every pigeon
in that loft, during 5 days. If you, however,
have lofts with high quantities of pigeons
(more than 20), it would be better to
divide that in to different virtual sections.
In that way, you are more sure that you
will have the best accuracy off your test.
pigeons: When you have a pigeon that is
not looking very healthy, or a pigeon
you bought and you are afraid that it
could be infected with paratyphus, don’t
hesitate to screen them. You can do that
by taking some samples of blood, but,
for the moment more reliable, is the culture
of droppings. Take 5 days the droppings
of that specific pigeon and take it to
your vet to have a culture on it.
sure your samples don’t become to
dry, put them in a little plastic bag
or a little box you can close.
Pascal Lanneau Veterinarian: