Racing Pigeon Diseases

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Dr R.C. Conradie

One of the conditions of racing pigeons which we are seeing more than normal this year is Roundworm.

Every fancier is aware of roundworm, knows the symptoms and generally treats for roundworm on a regular basis. It is therefore not my intention to go into known details of the condition but to discuss possible reasons for apparent failure of treatment.

Say for example a pigeon has roundworm, at this stage there will be adults in the intestine and larvae migrating through the rest of the body. Medication given at this stage will only kill the adult stages. No Medication available will kill the larvae stages, with the result that within a few weeks the pigeon again has adults in the intestine. It is for this reason that it is important to repeat treatment 14 days later and again 14 days after a second treatment.

A second reason for apparent failure of treatment is that when a bird is treated this treatment does not kill the eggs. These are passed out with the faeces onto the loft floor. If the loft floor is not cleared well and burnt with a gas flame the birds can reinfect themselves. At the time of treatment the loft floor must be cleared and flamed.

A third reason for apparent failure of treatment or continuous reinfection is when a fancier has had a roundworms problem for a length of time and has a lawn or soft soil around his loft. In this case any eggs passed by the pigeon onto the lawn cannot be removed or burnt at the time of treatment. These eggs then serve as a source of reinfestation for the pigeons.

To summarise then :-

1. Test your birds regularly.

2. If you are unable to do this, treat preventatively on a regular basis.

3. If a roundworm has been seen in your loft or if a diagnosis of roundworm has been made on the strength of a faecal examination treat the birds three times two weeks apart and thereafter test or treat more regularly than normal.



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