Fungi on the pigeon loft

Posted on 15/10/2018, Author: Pitts.be


One of the pathogens in the pigeons are fungi. In reference books of microbiology it is stated that even though all life on earth had to be almost eradicated, there would still be fungi. They are considered the debris clearing of nature. Mushrooms, for example, are just the tip of the iceberg, to name it that way, because the fungus threads that carry the mushroom as fruit are underneath. We also think of penicillin-producing fungi, discovered by Alexander Fleming, and this invention has caused an immense breakthrough in (animal) medicine. Because surgery became possible because of this invention.

There is a great diversity of fungi. However, it is not our intention to sow unrest among pigeon fanciers because not all fungi are pathogenic!

Yet a fungal infection is one of the most underestimated problems in the pigeon sport. Fungi secrete extremely toxic substances that are absorbed by the organism and can seriously affect the general condition of the pigeon.It is also not scientifically proven and it will probably never be because it is very difficult to make a direct connection. showing a fungal infection and the associated poor performance. But it is true that all veterinarians who are busy with pigeons are starting to attach more and more importance to the prevention of fungi and their control. Especially because it is seen that if fungi are treated the results also improve considerably, often for them a proof of their pathology.

How do you get mold contamination on the loft?

Chilly, humid, poorly ventilated lofts, where in addition, feed and manure are not cleaned up in time, are an excellent soil for molds. The fungal spores are inhaled by the pigeons. No reason for panic in healthy pigeons. However, pigeons that have been cured for a long time and have received antibiotics are weaker and the fungal infection can easily strike there.

Research of the crop and the manure can reveal the fungal infection. But this does not mean that your pigeons are sick. The fungi are present in the pigeon, but manifest themselves only when the situation becomes favorable to them, that is, as long as the pigeon has a healthy crop and intestinal environment, the good intestinal bacteria prevent the development of the fungal infection. If the fancier judges at a certain moment that an antibiotic treatment is imminent, you have problems  because the good gut bacteria will disappear and the balance will be disturbed, so that the fungi can develop further. With long-term administration of antibiotics, fungi such as Aspergillus or Candida can develop well.

Fungal infections are most common in the intestinal tract (watery stools). They are also found in the mouth, airways and air pockets.

As the pigeon was already weak because of the given antibiotic treatment to combat a previously occurring disease, it becomes more difficult for the fancier to fight the fungal infection. Some fungi can even form a whole network of fungal threads and completely take the pigeon that already has a reduced resistance. Good performances are no longer to be expected! The pigeon will be difficult to get into shape because the pigeon's defense organism needs all energy to fight the fungal infection. Then there are also the fungi that develop toxins that can be stressful for the liver and this is also inhibitory.

A pigeon that is always tired can have a fungal infection. The flight performance is poor and the pigeon does not want to train. Of course, these symptoms also occur in many other diseases, but aspergillosis can not be ruled out. The toxins that the fungi produce can be stressful for the pigeons and cause fatigue.

Pigeons with a fungal infection that are basketted are therefore more susceptible to other infections. Because the fancier does not immediately think of a fungal infection and he mainly thinks of problems with the respiratory tract, it is cured again and his pigeon ends up in a vicious circle, which only worsens the situation. Only sound research and time can bring consolation here.

Which fungi are there?

As described above, there are a lot of fungi present in the pigeon loft, but what we now know are two types that affect our pigeons and their performances. First and foremost longest known is aspergillus. This is a real fungus in the sense of the word. He mainly settles in the deeper airways in the air pockets and causes problems there. It is therefore also that this germ is often not diagnosed simply because you can’t reach it. He is then only discovered during an autopsy and then often more accidentally. But even then, he is often overlooked. In short, a difficult owner to find, one who can play hide and seek and very often wins but no less harmful. If he is deeply embedded in the air pockets, it is not only difficult to diagnose but also difficult to treat. A second and undoubtedly the most common are the candida. But actually candida is not really a fungus in the pure sense of the word but a yeast. They are single-celled eukaryotes and belong to the group of the fungi. Yeasts are very prevalent, especially in moist places such as moons, head, intestinal system, urogenital system etc ... In pigeons, these candida are almost always found in research of crop or manure, but only if they are found in large numbers we attach importance to them. they are treated and treated. It is often a matter of not letting the candida overrun and not to completely eradicate it.

How to treat?

If aspergillus is diagnosed, it is a matter of eradicating it as quickly and completely as possible. It is located in the deep airways and difficult to fight locally. That is why fungicidal medication is used. This is administered over the feed or directly into the mouth. They are absorbed into the bloodstream and thus go to where the fungus is. Ketoconazole is the best known and widely used product. It is available under the name fungiconazole or better known also nizoral. With pigeons more and more use is made of itraconazole. In the past it was only humane, but recently also on the market especially for birds under the name fungitraxx. It is available in liquid form and is very easy to administer directly in the mouth or over the feed. For yeasts, nystatin is usually prescribed because the effect is good against the candida and also because it is available in liquid form. But here too the fungitraxx is a very good and effective tool. Be careful with fungicidal medication that the prescribed dose is adhered to. This actually applies to all medication, but these products can have very harmful side effects. In the event of a major overdose, the adrenal gland is severely affected, which has very serious consequences for the pigeons, in other words they are totally lost for the sport. So pay attention and caution is the message.

Antibiotics work against bacteria but not against fungi. Of course, a lot can be prevented to prevent mold. A good loft climate is extremely important. Dry pens that are regularly polished and possibly burned out with the flame are ideal for fighting fungi. In addition, the excessive use of antibiotics is still a major culprit. Almost always fungal infections related to large amounts of antibiotics are used. So the economics of antibiotics is the message. It can also help to give probiotics after an antibiotic cure, even though the use has not yet been scientifically proven. Acidifying the water can certainly help to make the environment uncomfortable for mold growth. You can do that with apple vinegar or pichones. With this one you catch two birds in one fell swoop because the latter also raises its own immunity against viruses. But there are still a lot of old remedies that help in the control of yeasts or fungi. For example, a few drops of lugol or iodine in the water can help but also garlic in the water or alum. An old remedy is to take a liter bottle, 1/4 grain genever, 10 cloves of garlic, alum, a ball of onion in it and for the remainder water. 1 tablespoon per liter of water every day can already help a lot against all kinds of germs, not just fungi. Ancient wisdom does not always have to be expensive.


Do we have to think of a fungal infection every time the pigeons fly badly?

No, but if the pigeons get a cure because they do not fly well or the youngsters regularly have wet manure and respiratory problems and they react badly to the cure, there could be a fungal infection.

A dry, well ventilated loft that is kept neat and regularly disinfected undoubtedly contributes to the prevention of a fungal infection.

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