Ga direct naar de inhoud.

What you need to know (3) August 29th

Canker is far less a problem than it used to be, despite alarming noises you could hear for many years. The traditional medication was not effective any more and vets prescribed doses that became stronger and stronger. Many of them feared that in a near future canker could not be controlled any longer. It was a serious problem indeed. Many fanciers were not able to breed one single healthy baby if the parents were not cured before It seems as if one pigeon disease is slowly disappearing, while another is coming up. when on eggs.

For some fanciers the problem became so big that they medicated when there were babies in the nests. But times changed.


It is logical that pigeons are vulnerable for those diseases against which they are medicated most. But to the surprise of scientists, vets and pigeon fanciers canker has become far less a problem than it used to be. Today there are champions that never or hardly ever medicate. ‘Hardly ever’ means before the breeding season and before the racing season and that is it.

Though it must be said, there are fanciers who THINK they never medicate but who do. They put BS in the drinker after every race to ‘disinfect’ and do not realise this stuff contains stuff against canker. It is also striking that the symptoms changed throughout the years. In the past a yellow substance in the beak and throat meant canker. Today these symptoms mostly mean ‘internal’ pox.

Nowadays the symptoms of canker are throats that are too reddish with thin slimy threats, babies in the nests that are skinny, droppings that smell sour.


But as I said we got another problem instead: One eye cold. Not the traditional ‘wet eye’ but an eyelid that closes half the eye. Fanciers found that when they treated the birds with the traditional eye drops, the birds were ok after 2 weeks. When you do nothing at all it takes 14 days! In other words those drops have no effect.

In fact we are talking about a viral infection and youngsters (with old birds it is seldom a problem) that are exposed to sunlight are especially vulnerable. In periods with dark weather you do not hear about one eye cold. Yet it is easy to free the birds from this inconvenience, as a fellow fancier knows quite well by now.


The man had been ‘a bad boy’ and he knew it himself. What he had done wrong? On a Friday he had basketed birds that suffered from one eye cold for a race on Saturday. He should not have done this, since such birds will infect those from his fellow fanciers. But on Saturday he was in panic. Due to bad weather the race was delayed till Sunday. And now he feared that the eyes of his birds that were already half closed would get fully closed.

‘Wait till Sunday after the race. You will be surprised’, I said. He had no idea what I meant but he got a surprise indeed. When his birds got back home nothing was wrong with them.

‘How did you do that? Do you have access to the birds in the trucks?’ he asked me. Of course I had done nothing with the birds. It was something else. The birds had been in a dark truck for a longer time.


The conclusion is clear: If young birds have ‘one eye cold’, you can simply solve this problem. Put them in the dark for a while. Two nights and one full day or two full days and one night. I have often advised fellow fanciers to do so. No one has ever regret to follow my advice. So far…..


Now that I am writing this it is terribly hot. A fellow fancier has just left my house. He wanted to show me some birds that behaved very strangely. They looked like drunk. What had happened to them? He had cured them for 5 days with Suanovil (spiramycine) to deal with respiratory problems. This stuff is real good, maybe the best, but the problem was the hot weather. With temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius or higher the birds drink three times more than normal. So they had gotten 300% of the dose that was prescribed. A serious fancier should know such things.


It made me think of the man whose birds had paratyphoid some years ago. He had treated them with Baytril 2,5% (probably the best you can do) but some month later again some birds had paratyphoid. ‘This stuff is shit’ he complained. Of course Baytril is anything but shit. This man too had made a big mistake. He had put 2 ml of the stuff per liter water, while it should be 4 ml. The fact that he did this in cold weather in autumn made things even worse. In warm weather pigeons drink far more than normal, in cold weather they hardly drink at all. With medicine you should always consider the percentage. Baytril 2,5% or 10% makes a big difference.


In case you do not know how to deal with health problems you should never apply to just a vet. ‘Just a vet’ is a normal vet, who has never studied about pigeons. As for horses, dogs or cows and stuff he may be very knowledgeable, but about pigeons he mostly knows little or nothing.

 Only a vet that is specialised in pigeons, or even better a vet who races pigeons himself, is the man you have to apply to.

You should know that most good medicine are manufactured for other live stock, chickens, dogs and so on. The prescription says that the dose is based on the body weight. So the higher the weight of the body (the bigger the animal), the higher the dose.

But for pigeons there are other norms. They need a much higher dose. The vet who is specialised in pigeons knows this, the man that I call ‘just a vet’ probably not.