The culprits

Posted on 02/04/2017, Author: RH/PHIL

Trichomonas  everyone knows it. This germ is among the group of  flagellates which propel in humid environment with a swishing tail. Serious infections give yellow in the mouth and even mortality in nestlings but most lofts proceeds subclinical disease as it is called. On the outside the pigeons show no symptoms but they are infected. Each fancier knows that infection with trichomoniasis is harmful for the condition. Often still associated with a red throat. It also depends on what type of flagellates pigeons are infected in relation that the condition is affected, but as a fancier, you can’t take the risk. Trichomonas has to be treated, it’s that simple.  This is done with the group imidazoles, ronidasoles are the most used. In Belgium it’s on the market in the form of tricho-plus. However, flagyl (metronidazoles) is sometimes used, especially in the case of individual treatment, or in cases of resistance. Despite the fact that every fancier is aware of the fact that trichomoniasis should be treated properly, it is still a very common and recurring problem. The biggest reason is that fanciers often carry out preventive treatments in drinking water but despite this treatment the pigeons are not free of trichomoniasis. Very often because of underdosing in the drinking water or because the pigeons do not drink or drink insufficiently. Ronidazoles have a quite bitter taste so the pigeons drink less and therefore absorb less of the product. The treatment is often not sustained long enough. Especially in the racing season fanciers cure often only 1 or 2 days which is clearly not enough according to various studies. In recent years, the resistance of tricho compared to ronidazoles soared, one should  systematically increase the dose to see some kind of result. What strikes us in vetchecks is that the fanciers think their pigeons are free of tricho, because they got a cure, but effectively the pigeons are still infected. They will then administer other medications to improve the performance with all its consequences, it goes from bad to worse.


-have your pigeons checked before you treat them or use the vetcheck, do not treat them blindly.

-use a dose that is high enough.

-add a sweetener, honey, sugar or something similar to the Ronidazole product. This way the stuff tastes less bitter and the pigeons will drink more.

 -or install a feed treatment. So you're much more confident of your dose. Please note. 1 liter of water will be drunk by 20 pigeons and corresponds with  600g feed. 1 l is not equal to 1 kg of feed.

The natural way:

- you can regularly acidify the water, it suppresses the propagation of flagellates. 1 tablespoon of apple vinegar per gallon water.

- or always leave 1 clove of garlic in your drinking pots. After a week you refresh the clove of garlic. It reduces the growth.

- disinfect the drinking fountains regularly with bleach or let them dry out. The tricho will die thus spreading is prevented.

- if your pigeons are free of tricho you give them the product "homecoming" in the water each time they have been in contact with other pigeons. It suppresses the propagation of tricho, you should no longer give preventive treatments and it decreases the duration of the resistance.


Coccidiosis in the current pigeon sport is still a common problem. In the vetchecks we found in about 20% of the submitted samples manure still oocysts. The two most common species in pigeons are Eimeria Labbeana and Eimeria Columbarum. The 2nd is slightly larger in size. The eggs or oocysts are absorbed through the mouth. This happens especially in dirty lofts, travel baskets or drinking water. The mature oocytes release schizontes, which are small unicellular parasites that invade the intestinal wall. In there actually happen several cycles of amplification stages whereby at the end eggs or oocysts are produced that get scattered back into the environment via manure. They become mature after 1 to 4 days and so they can infect other pigeons again.  Since coccidiosis multiplies in the intestine there may also occur damage of the intestinal wall resulting in poor digestion and condition. Unlike tricho, coccidiosis gives less problems for our pigeons. Only in severe infections it gives clear condition decline. This does not mean that in the preparation towards the season you should not be extra careful. Coccidiosis can flare up under stress conditions. Make sure to cure before the start of the racing season. In the treatment of coccidiosis, we have the coccidiosis-static products, such as amproleum or sulphamides. These medications are slowing down the growth and thus inhibit the proliferation of coccidiosis and are administered for 5 to 7 days. It is perfectly possible that a few weeks after the treatment again eggs are found in the droppings. This is, however, to keep some control on the coccidiosis. A second group is the coccidiosis killer (or coccidiosis ciede medicines) such as toltrazuril (Baycox). The major advantage of the latter is that besides the killing effect it also has a retentive (prolonged) activity. The literature mentions that the effective functioning can reach up to 3 to 4 weeks. Also, it should only be administered for 2 days via drinking water.

Tips and the natural way

-make sure your lofts are dry.

- clean your lofts regularly or if you have little time, place the pigeons on grids or wire.

- after having cleaned your lofts, use the burner which provides the best disinfection against coccidiosis

-kolombocox without any doubt is the best natural product against coccidiosis. From several tests done on lofts a strong decrease of coccidiosis droppings was experienced after having adminsitered kolombocox. Pls. read elsewhere.

-if you procure new pigeons, especially youngsters for you colony right now before the season , make sure you have the droppings checked.  

-do not cure preventatively, thru a simple manure check you can quickly find out if your lofts are infected.


Worms within recent years are increasing again. We regularly receive manure samples  containing worms. Pigeons regularly have  round worms and hair worms but occasionally we find a helminth infection. Worms definitely have an adverse impact on the condition and therefore on the preparation for the new season. They attach themselves to the intestine of the birds and take a lot of nutrients. Also the intestinal wall is damaged and the pigeons easily absorb less nutrients. In any case you will understand that worms are very detrimental to the start of your season. You can detect the presence of worm eggs through a simple microscopic examination. Hygiene is an important factor in fighting worm infections. As with coccidiosis the message is to regularly clean the lofts and use the burner. There are many possibilities in the treatment of worms. Levamisole, febantel etc .. but in recent years, more and more the group of avermectins is used  to combat helminths. Also because the group of medicines is effective against ectoparasites.


-regularly clean the lofts and use the burner.

-Always check purchased pigeons as they are the most important source of infection.

 - worm eggs need a maturation of 10-14 days before they are effective contagious. It is important for clubs clean the baskets on a weekly basis, thus making the chances of mutual infection very small.


Paratyphoid is known by everyone however salmonella is often a jammer in the run of a new pigeon season. Salmonella is a bacterial infection, which can give different symptoms. Slimming, crooked fly, mortality, poor fertilization, torticollis, etc ... but often pigeons are asymptomatic and there lies the danger. This group of pigeons resemble first healthy but linger at a certain level and do not grow to their greatest good shape. Paratyfus can be checked before the season through vetcheck large or thru manure culture. Lofts which regularly or during this winter suffered from paratyphoid should cure with trimethoprim and enrofloxacin but it is also recommended to then vaccinate the pigeons to give them that extra resistance to this bacterium. Please note, it is not because you have vaccinated your pigeons that they are no longer sensitive, you should remain careful with this bacterium. Also in this case the message is to thoroughly clean and disinfect your lofts .

Tips and the natural way:

-check the droppings on a regular basis and take a sample with mixed manure of three consecutive days.

-pigeons that are in a bad shape should be removed from the lofts.

-Products on the basis of oregano can be provided preventatively . They suppress the growth of salmonella which can greatly help in the prevention. Also Kolombocox has a positive effect on the prevention of paratyphoid.


Respiratory problems

The problems are well known by all fanciers: thick head, sneezing, scratching the head, eye inflammation, dirty noses, poor performance etc ... Respiratory problems are an important group of disorders and are extremely important in the run to the season. In our respiratory vetcheck we explore an extensive range of germs that potentially contribute to the origin of respiratory problems of pigeons, we are also the first and only who address and explore this more widely in a professional way. Pls. find below a summary of what is being studied.

Herpes Viruses were already discovered during the 2nd World War within army pigeons. It is especially the PHV-1 that affects our pigeons. Many pigeons are carriers and seem to live without symptoms but very often this is accompanied by dirty noses, eye inflammation, red throats, pneumonia, etc .. but also necrosis fires may occur in liver, spleen, pancreas and kidneys, quite often this is especially accompanied by other bacterial infections. The question remains in almost all germs that cause respiratory problems who was first, the chicken or the egg. For sure they help each other and the immunity weakened by stress or exertion make the germs to  become stronger and to flare. Often fanciers see yellow spots in the mucosa of pigeons not to be confused with canker by trichomonas or siatolites present after strenuous exercises. The latter are smaller and are colored white-yellow. How do you handle this now right before the racing season. If the birds are found to be infected with herpes virus and they have visible symptoms they should best be treated. If they have no visible symptoms then it is recommended to vaccinate them, which is also recommended after treatment.

Mycoplasma are remarkable bacteria in a awy that they have no real cell wall so they always take a different form which makes the  diagnosis only more difficult. In our vetcheck we test via the PCR which is  found to be a good diagnostic option. The symptoms of mycoplasmas are very similar to those of herpes viruses, but sometimes you also find pigeons showing little or no appearance but perform poorly due to the presence of mycoplasmas. It is also called dry mucus in pigeon breeders language. Mycoplasmen are not easy to treat with pigeons. All literature shows that Linco-spectin is the most appropriate product to tackle this bacterium. Spiramycin would also be effective. But very often  other so called  secondary bacterial infections occur. These are just as important to tackle.

Chlamydia is the bacterium that causes ornithose with pigeons. Very often this is accompanied by  general respiratory disorders such as, thick heads, dirty noses, sore eyes usually the one eye cold. But we often find a form of dry mucus without visible outward symptoms. The incidence of Chlamydia in pigeons is very large and literature shows that 50-60% of the lofts would be infected. The bacterium multiplies itself intracellularly which makes it difficult to treat. This treatment is based on tetracycline or doxycycline products. Note that these antibiotics react strongly with calcium in the drinking water and are inactive rather quickly when they are administered via the drinking water. The most effective way to administer those products is to give them over the food and serve them rapidly, in order to have a good effect.

Many other bacterial infections such as Staphylococci, coli, Pasteurella's Pelistega etc ... are often isolated in pigeons. These bacteria often give problems along with the above mentioned viruses or mycoplasmas. They occur together, and as mentioned earlier, it is often difficult to determine who was the first, the chicken or the egg. In any case, it is clear to everyone that you best address all possible culprits. Therefore an antibiogram is always applied when determining a secondary infection. Using this antibiogram we can see perfectly what is the most appropriate antibiotic for your loft. Sometimes combinations must be made to achieve an ideal treatment.

Fungi are also found in pigeons, the problem emerges especially in humid overcrowded lofts. The molds are inhaled and lodge usually at the air pockets with all possible consequences. Excessive use of antibiotics increases the mold growth. Treatment of existing molds is necessary and can be done using Nystatin. Fungi are certainly not the main cause of respiratory problems, but when they occur it for sure is a difficult disease to treat.

The approach:

If you analyze the above story well you understand very quickly that curing the pigeons blindly is a pure gamble. It is impossible to know, being the fancier or the  veterinarian with which germ or germs a pigeon loft  is infected, let alone it is known which resistance forms are occuring. This is the reason why breathing problems remain a major problem with pigeons. Far too little research is done and  often gambled with in most cases an incorrect or only partial treatment which leaves you staggering. Usually at first it appears to go better but after a while it returns. Measuring is knowing which in this case for sure is applicable. The vetcheck airways is at your disposal, and within the week you exactly know  where you stand. Maybe you find the test expensive but remember that adminstering a lot of antibiotics is expensive too, a vet visit always is expensive and by treating frequently resistance is increased which after a couple of years is detrimental. If your pigeons have respiratory problems please ensure that your lofts are clean especially free of dust. Not an easy thing to manage but these germs are found in dust thus re-infecting your pigeons constantly.



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