Respiratory Disease Checklist

Respiratory Disease Checklist

The Common Signs of Respiratory Disease in Racing Pigeons are:

  • Panting after flying.
  • Sneezing
  • Loft flying decreases
  • Race losses
  • Eye and nostril discharge
  • Swollen cere and sinus
  • Stretching of neck and swallowing
  • Yawning

The top race performance requires perfect health and fitness.
Performance relates directly to the efficiency of the respiratory and circulation systems to provide the dramatic increase in energy requirements for flight. For example, during normal loft flying the pigeon increases its oxygen consumption fifteen fold and when flying into a head wind the oxygen consumption increases by up to 30 times. These massive energy burdens can only be supported by good health and fitness.

A Check List For Respiratory Disease

Examine the nostril
Any discharge appearing at the nostril (be it watery, tacky or snotty) when applying sideways pressure to the wattle reflects a health problem of the nasal cavity.

Check inside the mouth
The nasal cavity connects with the mouth in an area we refer to as the choanal slit. Many fanciers look at this area during the racing season. A narrowing of the “slit” when there is infection of the nasal cavity accurately reflects the inflammation present throughout the upper airways. Obviously, inflammation in this area will affect the heat and water conservation functions of the nasal cavity and lower competitive performance. The converse is also true and I agree with the fanciers, who believe that a fully open “slit” is a sign of a bird in top form.

Panting after exercise
When a respiratory infection inflames the nasal cavity and upper airways the pigeon is less able to control the considerable heat production generated during flight. With certain respiratory infections the first sign noticed is panting after or during exercise. Panting is a mechanism which sheds excess heat rapidly. A fluttering motion in the neck (a form of panting) may also be seen in the overheated pigeon (this is called gular fluttering). Unfortunately both water and heat are lost with panting.

I often see panting when training birds land after a short toss. These birds are healthy but not yet in top condition or are in the moult and have short flights. Because panting is a mechanism to alleviate overheating, we see it in exercising birds on hot days. When panting is noticed within the loft on very hot days efforts to cool the loft must be taken. Special attention to temperature control within the transporters is essential for the health of the race birds.

We also see panting in unfit birds exercising early in the morning, late evenings or tightly around the loft. It is important for the fancier to differentiate between panting in the healthy pigeon and that caused by respiratory infections.

Respiratory disease involving both the lungs and airsac systems seriously impairs flying performance not only because of the failure of the oxygen delivery system but because the energy systems (liver, muscle etc) are also affected. Disease of the airsac system alone reduces performance because both the delivery of oxygen and the removal of waste products are impaired. The resultant cramping muscles make it impossible for the pigeon to fly.

Also see Panting in Racing Pigeons

Respiratory Disease Checklist by Dr. Rob Marshall

The Leading Online Pigeon Racing and Racing Pigeons Magazine – The Pigeon Insider

More articles you may enjoy:

Easy to Build Aviary Plans and Designs

Learn How To Easily Build An Affordable & Attractive Aviary. Would you like to save $200, $500 or even a $1,000?

The average aviary costs $700 to buy, with high end aviaries costing over $2000 or more. During these tough economic times, you just can’t afford to throw away this amount of money.

But if you choose to build an aviary yourself, you can cut costs by up to 80%. This new aviary building ebook will save you money and gives you detailed step-by-step plans and designs for constructing aviaries that will last for years to come. You’ll find literally everything you need to know about how to build an aviary, by yourself, on the cheap inside this ebook. If your a serious pigeon fancier I highly recommend it.

Click Here to Check it Out Now