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 Ask Ed > Respiratory infections
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  What should a fancier know about respiratory infections like Mycoplasmosis and Ornithosis?

These diseases all fall into the infectious bacterial category. Coryza is actually the descriptive term used to identify the thick mucousy discharges usually associated with both Mycoplasmosis Catarrh and Ornithosis. The bacteria (termed Chlamydia) in the case of Ornithosis) lodge in the upper respiratory tract and can be extremely hard to eradicate. Often, infected birds never completely recover. Although their external symptoms may disappear, they can remain carriers for life.

The classic symptoms of respiratory infections include mucous in the throat, open beak, and heavy breathing, rasping or gurgling while breathing. Another symptom is a watery discharge from the eyes, sometimes associated with swelling in the eye area. Other symptoms include discharge from the nasal area, and occasionally air sac swelling or crop swelling as torn air sacs trap air under the skin.

As is usually the case with pigeons, other diseases can quickly manifest themselves when birds are in distress, so other symptoms can occur, such as loose greenish droppings and loss of weight. Most often the only noticeable difference in our birds will be their unwillingness to fly, or their complete failure in the racing events.

Respiratory infections are the most damning to the racing fancier, because many pigeon populations are carriers of the disease in one form or another, and symptoms are sometimes hard to identify. But race results will definitely be diminished.xx To prevent and control respiratory infections, maintain adequate ventilation, without drafts, in the loft. Keep dust and ammonia levels low, which means not allowing droppings to accumulate. Control dampness and overcrowding. Itís also wise to limit contact with wild birds, since tests have indicated in some areas that as much as 70% of the wild pigeon population is either carrying or is infected with a respiratory disease.

Because sporadic treatment at inadequate levels can cause rapid resistance, it is not wise to treat without effective drugs for the proper duration. Proper quarantining of new birds is a must.

See the Respiratory Infections section of the Siegelís catalog for medications for control.