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 News > Boddaert Interview
  Siegel News/Interview
Dr. Wim Boddaert
on Pigeon Health

Dr. Wim Boddaert with one of the champinos of the Van Damme- Boddaert loft

Dr. Wim Boddaert, a Belgian veterinarian, is known across the globe as an expert on racing pigeons. Since 1994, he has been affiliated with Versele-Laga, the largest producer of pigeon products in the world. Dr. Boddaert is also a pigeon fancier, recognized as World Champion four years ago.

Siegel Pigeons president Ed Minvielle visited with Wim at the Versele-Laga offices in June, where they discussed not only pigeon health in general, but also Wimís recent 1st National Championship race of Belgium against a field of 11,700 birds. His winner was a two year old, 98-3055308. The race distance was 791 kilometers (490 miles) from Cahors, with an east wind and temperatures of 30 degrees centigrade (about 85 degrees Fahrenheit)óall of which add up to hard race conditions. With a 6:40 a.m. release, Boddaertís winner clocked at 5:54 p.m., only 10 seconds in front of the second place pigeon, 30 kilometers (more than 18 miles) away. There were no more birds clocked until 15 minutes later.

Ed interviewed Wim about viruses that affect pigeons.

"A live vaccine works fast, much faster than a dead virus."

ED: Iím hearing a lot about a new vaccination against adenovirus. Does it really work?

WIM: There are two kinds of adenovirus, Type I and Type II. The first affects young birds, and the other affects old birds, primarily. There is no true pigeon vaccine yet, although some fanciers are using a chicken vaccine on their pigeons. I have tested this vaccine on pigeons in my laboratory, and I have not found it to be effective. What I recommend for racing pigeons against adenovirus Type I is eight days of Thera Prim along with Tricho Plus. The treatment is against the secondary bacterial infections. We are also seeing a new virus emerging.

ED: What is this new virus?

WIM: Itís called Circo-virus, and it attacks the pigeonís immune system, with basically the same symptoms as AIDS. So that means that pigeons are dying of all sorts of other diseases, because of a lack of immunity. There is no vaccine yet.

ED: Fanciers across the U.S. have been asking me about Paratyphus, and want to know how effective the Colombovac vaccine is against Paratyphus.

WIM: My laboratory tests have proven it to be 95% effective, but it requires repeat doses. The primary vaccination is twice, with three weeks between the first dose and second dose. Afterwards, you have to renew it every six months.

ED: In the U.S. many fanciers use Salbac for Paratyphus, giving it once a year. Should the birds get a booster?

WIM: Yes, they should, but in giving boosters, you have to be careful not to let a cyst form on the neck of the pigeon. That cyst is a reaction to the oils used as adjuvants to the vaccineís active ingredients.

"Itís best to vaccinate birdsat five or six weeks, once the immune system is developed." ED: What about Paramyxovirus?

WIM: The LaSota drops work for a two-to three-week period only, and if you use it in an infected loft, it can cause the situation to worsen. Colombovac is really the better product for Paramyxovirus.

ED: But the LaSota drops do help the immune system, donít they?

WIM: Yes, they do. And they can help with the race results if you give them a week to ten days before the race. A live vaccine works fast, much faster than a dead virus. Fanciers are also using wormers to boost for races. But nothing gives as good a boost as the LaSota drops.

ED: Canít this be harmful?

WIM: There will be no harm to the birds if they are vaccinated properly before. But you can give the LaSota drops only a maximum of two times per year, otherwise they are not effective.

ED: Iíve been hearing about a pigeon pox outbreak in vaccinated birds. What do you know about this?

WIM: In the Flanders section of Belgium, we are seeing a lot of pigeon pox in spite of these birds being vaccinated against pox. Itís worrisome. Thereís about a 50% disease rate even in vaccinated birds. The vaccination with Colombovac PMV/Pox is not effective enough. We are using the Ovoperisterin, which is more effective.

ED: Wim, when do you recommend vaccinating young birds?

WIM: Itís best to vaccinate them at five or six weeks, once the immune system is developed.

ED: Fanciers are always interested in new products that Siegelís will be carrying. Do you have anything interesting in production?

WIM: Yes, a product that will be called Amoxi Cure is almost ready for sale. Weíve developed it for bacterial infections, respiratory infections, and streptococcus, and it will be available this fall.

Siegel's Ed Minvielle injecting vaccine