Exotic Pets

14 Common Diseases in Pigeons

Pigeons are beautiful creatures that fascinate people all around the world. However, as with any living being, these birds can be prone to certain diseases that need to be addressed. There are various reasons why these illnesses may arise, such as environmental conditions or genetic disposition.

From respiratory infections to parasitic infestations, there are a variety of diseases that pigeons may contract over their lifetime. These include Pigeon Paramyxovirus (APMV), Pigeon Pox, Trichomoniasis, Salmonellosis, Candidiasis, Mycoplasmosis, Aspergillosis, Ornithosis (Psittacosis), Newcastle Disease, and more. Be sure to observe good hygiene practices to protect your pigeons.


1. Avian Paramyxovirus (APMV)

Avian Paramyxovirus (APMV) is a viral disease that affects pigeons and is classified as one of the most common diseases in the species. APMV can have a major impact on the health of pigeon flocks, causing symptoms such as respiratory distress, dehydration, and diarrhea. APMV attacks the respiratory system of pigeons and can also cause nervous system issues such as paralysis.

To prevent outbreaks of APMV, it is important for pigeon owners to maintain good biosecurity measures, such as regular disinfection of equipment and limiting contact with other bird species. Additionally, vaccination against the virus is available and recommended by veterinarians. As with any disease, it is crucial to be vigilant for the signs and symptoms of APMV and to seek veterinary care as soon as possible if any issues arise.


2. Pigeon Pox

Pigeon Pox is a respiratory disease affecting both domestic and wild pigeons. It is caused by a virus that is easily spread, especially when the birds are kept in close quarters. The symptoms of Pigeon Pox are easily recognizable and affect the bird’s ability to fly and eat.

The disease is generally not fatal but can cause weight loss and dehydration if left untreated. While there is no specific cure, there are ways to minimize the spread of the virus and treat the symptoms. Prevention through vaccination and good hygiene practices is key to managing this and other common diseases in pigeons.

It is important for bird owners to remain vigilant and informed, as the health of the entire flock depends on early detection and proper care.

Pigeon Pox


3. Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis, commonly known as “canker,” is a prevalent disease among pigeons that can lead to severe health complications. It is caused by the parasitic protozoan Trichomonas gallinae, which infects the bird’s throat, crop, and upper digestive tract. This disease can be spread through contaminated water and feed, as well as bird-to-bird contact.

Infected pigeons may exhibit symptoms such as regurgitation, weight loss, vomiting, and a clogged crop. If left untreated, Trichomoniasis can lead to other illnesses or even death. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure your pigeon population is free from this disease through routine health checks and proper management practices.



4. Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis is a common disease that can affect pigeons. This bacterial infection can cause serious health problems for birds, including lethargy, diarrhea, weight loss, and even death. Pigeons can contract Salmonellosis from contaminated food, water, or contact with infected birds.

While this disease can be prevented by maintaining high levels of hygiene and sanitation, treatment is necessary if a bird becomes infected. It is important to quarantine any sick birds and provide them with supportive care, such as fluids and antibiotics. By understanding the symptoms and taking preventative measures, pigeon owners can help protect their birds from this and other common illnesses.


5. Candidiasis

Candidiasis, also known as thrush, is one of the most common diseases that affects pigeons. This fungal infection can cause a number of symptoms including difficulty swallowing, weight loss, and lack of energy. While Candidiasis can affect birds of all ages and species, it is particularly common in young pigeons who have weaker immune systems.

To prevent and treat this disease, it is important to keep their living space clean and dry, provide them with a balanced diet, and seek veterinary care at the earliest sign of symptoms. By taking these steps, you can help ensure the health and well-being of your feathered friends.


6. Mycoplasmosis

Mycoplasmosis is one of the most common diseases in pigeons, affecting birds of all ages. This respiratory infection is caused by a bacterium that can damage the respiratory system of birds, leading to loss of appetite, weight loss, and fatigue. The incubation period can last up to two weeks, and the disease is highly contagious, often spreading quickly through flocks.

Symptoms can be treated with antibiotics, but the disease has the potential to become chronic, leading to long-term health problems. To prevent Mycoplasmosis, pigeons should be kept in a clean and well-ventilated environment, and bird owners should observe good hygiene practices. If you suspect that your pigeons have contracted Mycoplasmosis or any other respiratory infection, it is important to seek veterinary care promptly.


7. Aspergillosis

Aspergillosis is a common disease that affects pigeons, caused by a fungus known as Aspergillus. Birds can contract the disease by inhaling the fungus spores present in the environment. Aspergillosis can cause respiratory problems, leading to difficulty breathing, coughing, and sneezing.

In severe cases, the disease can affect other areas of the body, such as the nervous system, eyes, and air sacs. Pigeons living in dirty and overcrowded conditions are particularly susceptible to the disease. Owners must ensure their birds have a clean and well-ventilated living environment to reduce the risk of disease transmission.


8. Ornithosis (Psittacosis)

Ornithosis, also known as Psittacosis, is one of the most common diseases that affect pigeons. This disease is caused by a bacterial infection that is spread through bird droppings, feather dust, and other secretions. Ornithosis can cause respiratory problems, fatigue, and fever in infected pigeons.

These symptoms can also be transmitted to humans who come into contact with infected pigeons. Therefore, it is important for pigeon owners and handlers to take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of this disease. This includes maintaining proper hygiene, avoiding direct contact with infected pigeons, and seeking prompt veterinary treatment if any signs of infection are observed.


9. Newcastle Disease

Newcastle Disease is a highly contagious viral infection that affects a wide range of bird species, including pigeons. It can cause severe respiratory symptoms, nervous system dysfunction, and even death, making it one of the most damaging diseases for pigeon keepers to deal with. The virus is extremely contagious and can spread through contact with infected birds, contaminated surfaces, or even through the air.

Despite its severe impact on the bird population, there are ways to prevent and control Newcastle Disease in pigeons. With proper biosecurity measures and vaccination programs, pigeon keepers can minimize the risk of an outbreak and keep their birds healthy and happy.

Newcastle Disease


10. Canker

Canker, also known as trichomoniasis, is one of the most common diseases affecting pigeons. Caused by a parasitic protozoan called Trichomonas gallinae, canker can cause severe damage to the bird’s upper digestive tract, leading to symptoms such as regurgitation, weight loss, and breathing difficulties. The disease can spread quickly from bird to bird, especially in crowded conditions, making it critical to identify and treat affected birds promptly.

Treatment typically involves administering medications such as metronidazole or dimetridazole, along with supportive care such as providing clean water and feeding soft foods. With proper diagnosis and treatment, canker can be effectively controlled, helping to prevent its spread among pigeon populations.



11. Coccidia

Coccidia is a protozoan parasite that commonly infects pigeons, causing gastrointestinal issues and other health problems. It is a key player in a group of common diseases that affect pigeons and can cause severe illness if left untreated. Prevention is key when it comes to protecting your flock from coccidiosis, so it’s important to keep their living area clean and disinfected.

Additionally, maintaining a high standard of hygiene and avoiding overcrowding can help prevent the spread of this disease. If you do suspect that your pigeons have been infected with coccidia, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away to ensure the best possible outcome.


12. Worms

These diseases range from general malaise and weight loss to more severe conditions, such as liver damage and respiratory issues. It’s important to note that some of these conditions can easily spread to other birds within the flock, leading to larger health implications.

Thankfully, there are preventative measures that can be taken to keep worms away, such as implementing a deworming regimen and maintaining good hygiene practices. By staying vigilant and proactive, pigeon owners can help ensure their birds remain healthy and free from these common diseases.



13. Hexamita

Hexamita is a type of parasitic flagellate that is responsible for several common diseases in pigeons. This microscopic organism can infect the intestinal tract, leading to severe inflammation, diarrhea, and weight loss. Some of the diseases caused by Hexamita include canker, wet droppings, and sour crops.

These conditions can be debilitating for birds and cause significant distress for pigeon owners. While there are treatments available, prevention is always the best course of action. Providing a clean and hygienic living environment, avoiding overcrowding, and maintaining a healthy diet can go a long way in keeping pigeons free from Hexamita and other harmful pathogens.


14. Chlamydia

One of the most concerning diseases that pigeons can contract is chlamydia. Also known as ornithosis, this bacterial infection can spread quickly and cause serious health issues in birds. Symptoms of chlamydia in pigeons may include swollen eyes, lethargy, and difficulty breathing.

To protect your pigeons from chlamydia, it is essential to maintain good hygiene practices and to provide them with a clean and healthy living environment. Consult with a veterinarian if you suspect your birds may be infected, as prompt treatment can help alleviate symptoms and prevent the disease from spreading further.


In conclusion

It’s important for pigeon owners to be aware of the most common diseases that may affect their birds. From viral infections like Newcastle Disease and Pigeon Pox to bacterial infections like Salmonellosis and Ornithosis, every disease requires prompt attention and treatment to prevent it from spreading and causing harm. Understanding the symptoms and preventative measures for each disease is crucial in maintaining the health of your flock.

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