Bird Vet Melbourne

(03) 9808 9011

Pigeon Canker 

CAUSE : caused by a protozoan Parasite called Trichomonas Columbae.  It is a motile, single celled organism, easily seen under the microscope. 

CLINICAL SIGNS od Canker in racing pigeons 

Some birds show disease and many will become infected and show no symptoms.

It primarily affects the crop and oral cavity of pigeons but can be found in deeper tissue in advanced infections.  The racing pigeon has an inflammatory response to the organism and a typical white yellow pasty plaque like material develops in affected areas; easiest seen in the back of the throat. 

Most birds develop a level of immunity!


Transmission of canker in Pigeons 

The organism only survives a short time out of the host, usually in water. Transmission is usually by saliva contamination of food or water,  or oral contact, and often will pass to the chicks in the crop milk.

DIAGNOSIS of trichomonads in racing pigeons

Confirmed by a microscopic smear of saliva or a crop wash or of a plaque like lesion.

TREATMENT of Canker in race birds.

Birds can be treated with a group of medications from the Nitr-immidazole group.

  1. Ronidazole  in the water . It has a wide safety margin. 
  2. Carnidazole tablets for Pigeons (Spartrix)
  3. Metronidazole  also available as a pigeon tablet.
  4. Older racers used Dimetridazole but is has been superseded by safer products
  5. Ronsec is a mixture of ronidazole and sectinadazole - a long acting and shorter acting product. 

Now for the more in depth information

No drug  will clear canker from a racing pigeon loft.  One needs to use medication to establish a strong immunity in the individual birds. Each loft needs its own unique canker program/

PREVENTION And Control of Canker in the loft.

Prevention of canker becoming clinical 
1.    Hygiene of loft and strong immunity especially of stock birds 
2.    Quarantine – isolate new birds and treat them.
3.    Treat all birds depending on your particular loft situation eg Treat all stock bird 1 week before pairing, and possibly anoth treatment at hatching.