What are the most common pigeon diseases?

Unexpectedly, many people own pigeons as pets. They are sturdy-bodied, short-legged birds that are found practically everywhere in the world, in both the wild and in our homes, together with doves. As their carers, we attend to all of their needs, including the treatment of numerous common illnesses. These illnesses can result in a wide range of symptoms, such as diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and even death.

1 - Canker


A microscopic organism known as a protozoan is the cause of canker, which usually results in respiratory issues. Fortunately, the illness can only last a few minutes outside of a bird, despite the fact that it can be easily spread from one to another. When pigeons share water bowls, display billing to other adult pigeons, or feed young pigeons crop milk, a semi-solid, crumbly excrement high in fat and protein, they spread canker to other pigeons.

The pigeon's throat, bile ducts, cloaca, proventriculus, and other areas of the digestive tract are usually home to the organism that causes canker. Canker nodules can also be seen in pigeon sinuses and the navel of a nestling pigeon. Canker symptoms vary based on the area of the body affected, but since the throat is the most prevalent site, many pigeons will have trouble breathing because of the tonsil nodules. Aside from the obvious nodules and breathing problems, other symptoms of canker include weight loss, diarrhea, tiredness, and bleeding in the mouth and cloaca. If the condition is not addressed, the symptoms get worse, and canker can be fatal.

Canker exclusively affects the portions of a pigeon's body that are connected to or near the digestive tract. Canker lesions resemble other types of illnesses, such as an abscess. This implies that a wing lesion would not be cankering. The creature can also be observed in the feces under a microscope. Your veterinarian can prescribe medication to treat canker in your pigeon. Your veterinarian may need to remove the nodule surgically on occasion.

2 - Worms


Pigeon diseases, like many other animal species, may carry a variety of different worms in their intestines. Pigeons' digestive tracts are home to roundworms, tapeworms, and hairworms, which can weaken the bird, increase its vulnerability to other infections, and impair its performance in competition. While worms can occasionally be seen in pigeon feces, their eggs are often discovered when the droppings are examined under a microscope.

It can be quite challenging to keep your pigeon from catching worms because pigeons consume insects and contaminated droppings from other birds. To check for these parasites, you should regularly perform microscopic examinations of your pigeon's droppings. Treatment for these parasites entails the use of medication that, as with other pigeon treatments, can be injected orally using a syringe.

3 - Coccidiosis


Coccidia is a type of intestinal protozoan that causes diarrhea, loss of food absorption, weakness, lethargy, and weight loss in pigeons and other animals. It is similar to worms. When pigeons consume infected droppings, coccidia is easily spread from one pigeon to another and is frequently present in all pigeon lofts in modest, tolerable amounts. When a minor case of coccidiosis is discovered in a regularly behaving pigeon, it is frequently left untreated.

Since coccidiosis is a mini-organism that cannot be seen without a microscope, routine fecal examinations by your veterinarian are advised to ensure that your pigeon is not overly affected by coccidiosis. Even though trace amounts of this protozoan are safe, your pigeon needs to be treated with medication if it exhibits other symptoms or loose droppings, which is the most typical sign of coccidiosis.

4 - Hexamita


This organism can be found in pigeons' digestive tracts and is strikingly similar to the protozoan that triggers canker in pigeons. Fortunately, hexamita does not usually pose as much of a threat to pigeon health as canker does, but treating a bird diagnosed with the condition is still advised. The organism is microscopically detected in feces, and because of its similar appearance, it is sometimes mistaken for canker. It usually passes undetected in normal pigeons, but if it overpopulates the intestinal tract, it may lead to vomiting, loss of weight, and bloody diarrhea.

5 - Fly, mites, and lice in pigeons


For your pet pigeon diseases, external parasites like lice, mites, or flies can be rather bothersome. In addition to biting and upsetting your pigeon, these bothersome pests have the potential to inflict more severe harm, like sickness or blood loss. Tiny holes within feather shafts, itching birds, and a scaly appearance to your pigeon's unfeathered parts are all indications of external parasites. Medicated sprays are usually applied to an infected pigeon, depending on the kind of parasite involved.

6 - Respiratory infections in pigeons

Flying Pigeon

Respiratory illnesses are perhaps the most dreaded problem type faced by pigeon owners, aside from canker. The spread of respiratory illnesses is very high. Young, elderly, and stressed birds are more prone to infection.

A bird with a respiratory ailment finds it difficult to breathe and fly, which makes them less active and inferior to other pigeons in competition. A pigeon with a respiratory infection will remain fluffed up with its eyes closed, breathe with an open mouth, exert more effort when breathing, not eat, and eventually perish.

A pigeon's respiratory infection can be brought on by a variety of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and mites. The respiratory system as a whole, including the sinuses, lungs, and air sacs, may be affected by the illnesses. If your pigeon has a respiratory infection, you might be able to hear them sneeze and/or cough, or you can see discharge coming from their nares, inside the mouth, or from the choana. To completely eradicate a respiratory infection, aggressive treatment is necessary. This includes bringing the bird to the veterinarian when you notice respiratory symptoms, cleaning your bird's environment, treating any underlying parasites that may have made it more likely for it to become ill, identifying the infection's source, and giving it medication.

7 - Chlamydia in Pigeons


Pigeons can have a wide variety of chlamydia strains, while other birds may never exhibit any symptoms. However, your pigeon may experience a viral flare-up if they are under stress.

Birds exhibiting chlamydia symptoms can receive medication to treat the virus, but the illness cannot be cured. When pigeons have chlamydia, the major issue is respiratory infections induced by the virus; therefore, the treatment for these birds is usually symptomatic, and they should be kept in an ideal habitat to prevent moisture, fluctuating temperatures, etc.

8 - Pigeon Mycoplasma


Mycoplasma can infect pigeons' respiratory tracts and cause respiratory infections as well. Mycoplasma infections can cause nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing, and additional symptoms, depending on which section of the respiratory tract is infected. These symptoms are similar to those of chlamydia as well as other respiratory diseases.

Once more, stress is the main cause of mycoplasma symptoms in pigeons. Thus, maintaining your pigeon's clean, stress-free, and optimal habitat is essential to its overall health.

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