Ornithosis In Racing Pigeons

Ornithosis In Racing Pigeons

ornithosis in racing pigeonsHealth is the most fundamental and important topics in pigeon racing. It doesn’t matter how good a pigeon is or how well its fed an unhealthy pigeon will never be able to win a race. Occasionally, we will select some very interesting questions and answers concerning a certain topic and publish them on our homepage. So because health is so important and we get so many questions about it today’s topic is Ornithosis.

Over few days several of my race team developed a swollen eye (lower eye lid). After a few days of medication the problem disappear. I am interested to know what this is. Is it caused by a virus? and what’s the best way to deal with it?

This is most probably caused by the intracellular bacteria chlamydophila. The disease is often referred to as ornitosis. The medication is antibiotics mostly tetracyclines. Doxycyline is the best as it gets deep into the cells (that is where the bacteria causes the damage). It is very difficult though, to get the birds free from chlamydophila. Even 6 weeks of non stop treatment doesn’t clear all carriers of the disease. That’s why it is important for long term results that the environment (air circulation – loft construction) is good (prevention) and that the pigeons get some resistance of their own against the disease.
Answered by: Ruben Lanckriet

Good day. I was wondering how to treat air sack problems as this could cost you dearly in the racing season. I have had already some birds with this problem in the past. Thank you and keep up the good work for our feathered friends.

Airsacculitis (infection of the airsacs) can be caused by Chlamydia. Chlamydia is responsible for ornithosis. Doxycycline is a good choice for treating ornithosis. However you should keep in mind that respiratory problems are a multifactorial problem (stress, overcrowding, bad ventilation).
Answered by: Johan van der Cruyssen

Hello Dr, my problem is that whilst trying to swallow the food the pigeons stretch their neck and twist their stomachs. When flying around the loft they return with an open beak. I gave medication – doxycicline, tylosine, deworming for hair tape and round worms, vaccination for Salmonella pt (colombovac), e. coli, cancer.

In the symptoms that you are giving there are 2 types of symptoms :
1/ After flying they are sitting with an open beak :
This is typically a respiratory problem, normally ornithosis. This has to be treated with a course of 4 to 6 weeks with doxycycline.
2/ The second kind of symptoms wiilst eating could be also a problem of digestion , or an infected throat or stomach. So here I would treat with f.e. lincospectine for 10 days.
So, if I have to advise, I would give them 10 days doxycycline + lincospectine together , and then a further 4 weeks on doxycycline alone.
But to be honest , the best way to go forward is firstly to let me make an autopsy and analysis to know 100 % what the problem is.
Answered by: Wim Boddaert

One of my pigeons has a white layer on one of its eyes, sometimes it is completely shut and it swells. What has happened to it ? Tell me a cure too.

It can be a form of ornithosis. But in a lot of these problems there is also a combination with the herpes-virus. When you have only 1 pigeon with this problem, you treat him individually. You can inject twice with an antibiotic such as Linco-Spectin and give terramycine in the eye 2 times a day for five days.
Answered by: Vincent Schroeder

I have had a positive test (by a veterinary) for chlamydia in my birds and he has prescribed a 54 day treatment, which I have now completed. The vet would only describe the medicine as chlamydia treatment. It was greenish yellow in colour. Could you tell me how to manage my birds in the coming breeding and racing season. Should I treat with an antibiotic periodically (if I can get one) and is there a vaccine available against chlamydia?

Chlamydia is indeed a very great problem in many pigeons, when they are suffering from respiratory diseases. When the pigeons are highly infected with chlamydia, it is sometimes necessary to treat for a long time in order to try to reduce as much as possible the infection level.

Whether it will be necessary to do a new treatment during the season depends on many different factors, like the weather circumstances, the races they had to do, the infection level, the ventilation in the loft, the pigeons themselves, the immunity level of the pigeons, the loft that is overcrowded or not, and so on.
There is certainly a need to look at and inspect the pigeons very carefully after every race they had to do. Depending on the symptoms and the results of the diagnostic, it can be possible that you have to treat at that moment.

But take care: It is necessary to treat only when it is necessary!
In order to treat the pigeons against Chlamydia, the most popular antibiotic is based on doxycycline, sometimes in combination with other antibiotics, but doxy is almost always a part of the treatment.
Answered by: Pascal Lanneau

Ornithosis In Racing Pigeons by Lanckriet Ruben

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2 thoughts on “Ornithosis In Racing Pigeons

  1. dear sir, I have a few birds with watery eyes, am treating individually with ornithosis meds ,from various pigeon sites, I think they are having other problems, they get fresh filtered water and the freshest feed and grit any suggestions for me thanks James

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