Diseases of the respiratory tract are very often mixed infections. Outbreaks of the disease result from the combined effects of pathogens and factors within the loft environment that reduce the birds’ resistance to infection.
The door to infection is opened by mycoplasma and viruses, in addition to fungi und trichomonads. These lower the pigeons’ resistance and allow pathogenic bacteria - pasteurella, cocci und coli bacteria - to colonise and multiply. It is these secondary pathogens that engender the actual clinical picture of visible and audible catarrh (wheezing).
Catarrh is not always caused by pathogens. Very often, inadequate ventilation and waste-air extraction, drafts, a deficient supply of oxygen and high concentrations of noxious gases and dust in the loft reduce the pigeons’ resistance, making them extremely susceptible to infection.
Symptoms of the disease:
Initially the pigeon fancier notices sneezing and an aqueous nasal discharge, which in the acute form of the disease becomes mucopurulent and yellowish brown in colour. This is accompanied by the first signs that the birds’ general condition is impaired, namely reduced feed and water intake, cessation of down moulting and a reluctance to fly. The wattle and bridge of the nose turn grey and there is scratching of the head and nose. When the beak is opened, stringy mucus can be seen stretching from the retrolingual region to the palate. Additional clinical signs are a reddening and swelling of the pharyngeal mucosa.
In the advanced stage of the disease, whitish-yellow deposits are formed in the laryngeal region. The inflammatory processes extend to the windpipe and the lower respiratory tract (air sacs).
Recognition of the disease:
The diagnosis "infectious catarrh" can usually be established simply from the behaviour of affected pigeons, the inflammatory changes in the head region and respiratory tract and the characteristic sounds of respiration (wheezing). Veterinary examination and bacteriological demonstration of the pathogen are recommended on first suspicion of disease
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