In providing this information I am not trying to replace professional veterinary treatment, but to enable rescuers to help a pigeon when veterinary expertise is not available and to prepare those who are able to take the pigeon to the vet:
I think it is important for rescuers to understand that even though an illness or injury may look as if euthanasia is called for this is seldom the case . A lot of vets see euthanasia as the first option and many new rescuers have found out too late that the pigeon that a vet considered had no chance actually had a very high chance of recovery.
As a new rescuer I allowed the vet to put a pigeon with canker to sleep but have since treated, cured and released many pigeons that were ina worse state than the one that was put down. If you can to go to the vet armed with the right information might help the bird's chances of survival.
If you have a sick , injured or orphaned pigeon please do not feed it immediately, it may be suffering from shock and/or dehydration.
It is important to give it a brief examination to establish any first aid that may be required. First check it for bleeding and stem any bleeding by direct pressure with a clean cloth. If it is bleeding from the beak or a claw you can dip the beak or claw in cornflour to help stop the bleeding.
In hot weather it is particularly important to check it for maggots/fly strike. . The unhatched maggots will look like grains of white rice and will be found in the area of any wound, orifices such as the vent and sometimes at the base of feathers
Check the front of its breast for damage which could indicate a ruptured crop.This is common in pigeons, it is repairable but will need a vet to suture both layers of the crop .
Check under its wings for wounds which could indicate it had been caught by a cat (or dog). Cats carry the pasteurella bacteria in their saliva and a pigeon can die of pasteurella septicemia within 24 hours, so it is important that it is treated with antibiotics (preferably one that combines amoxicillin with clavulanic acid such as Synulox, Clavamox or Clavaseptin) as early as possible.
If it feels cold it is important to warm it up on a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel (so it is warm but not hot) or on a heat pad set low, or under a 40 watt angled lamp for about an hour. If the pigeon is wet and hypothermic you it is best to use a hair dryer to dry and warm it but make certain that the air reaching the pigeon is not too hot. (Please note that if a bird is suffering from concussion heat could be harmful)
In most feral flocks you will see pigeons with deformed feet, missing toes, bleeding feet, walking on stumps and occasionally pulling themselves along on their wings.
Some people will try to put this down to an illness or disease. Pox is the only pigeons disease that affects the appearance of the feet, but the main cause of the deformities that we see is the carelessness of human beings about the way they dispose of thread, fishing line and even their own hair, which becomes entangled in pigeons feet.
As the pigeon tries to walk the thread or line tightens and cuts off the blood supply. If the both feet are bound together then the bird will be unable to walk and has to resort to pulling itself along on its wings or "wing walking".
Eventually the tissue below the string will become blackened and die . Individual toes and sometimes the whole foot will be severed, often causing a major bleed. Infection will aggravate the injury.
In cases of recent entanglement and fairly loose thread, this can be relatively simple and done on the spot if necessary (I always carry a foot repair kit with me) . When thread is embedded or of long-standing, it can be a delicate process which is better done at home.
In the worst cases the solution may be to have the entire foot amputated below the hock joint by a vet, leaving a stump for the pigeon to walk on. Fortunately pigeons do very well even when missing one or both feet, so euthanasia is never indicated for a foot injury.
One feral pigeon lost both his feet to string damage 11 years ago and is still around and flying free.
The photo on the left was taken 7 years ago, the foot was amputated and the pigeon is still alive and well but living in the comfort of an aviary with other pigeons for company.
Many tangles can be resolved with a small kit comprising such items as a seam splitter (as demonstrated in the photo) small nail scissors, and small tweezers.
Before you start examine the foot carefully.
Yellow bits are a sign of infection that will need to be treated with antibiotics.
Blackened flesh is dead but dangerous to poke about in as it could cause a severe bleed. If the string has done significant damage to the foot then it might be a good idea to take it to the vet who will have specialised instruments to do the job and also be able to provide emergency treatment if there is a bleed.
I usually start by rubbing Bach Rescue Cream (available from Boots and Neals Yard in the UK) into the foot, this softens any muck and, in my experience, also loosens the string, probably because it reduces swelling.
I often have to improvise but these are some of the things I use when treating string injuries:
Baby scissors with blunt ends, because these can be used to snip thread that is embedded into the skin without cutting the flesh.
A seam splitter (a dressmaking tool for picking stitches which has a blunted end) for separating the thread from the flesh before cutting it.
Antibacterial cream, such as F10 to rub in the wound.
Painkiller - I use a single drop of Metacam (available from the vet) in the inside tip of the pigeon's beak as a painkiller
Cotton buds, sterile gauze and cornflour to treat minor bleeds.
A pair of small sharp scissors to cut the thread.
When you examine a bird always ensure that the head is raised so that there is no danger of regurgitation that could cause it to aspirate and die. It sometimes helps to lay a piece of gauze over its face to reduce struggling.
In a lot of cases the thread or string is visible and therefore quite easy to remove just by patiently snipping and unwinding. It sometimes takes several goes, with rests for the pigeon and the rescuer in between. I always cut the bit that links the feet together first, so that if the pigeon escapes it is that little bit better off.
Then I start with the loosest bits, snipping and gently unwinding, taking care not to pull so that the thread doesn't cut further into the flesh.
If there is any bleeding at all I stop what I am doing, apply direct pressure to the area and hold the foot up in the air to inhibit the blood flow. For major bleeds I have had to use a tourniquet, but the pigeon has also needed treatment for shock.
When all the thread is removed I treat open wounds with antibacterial cream immediately and continue to do that 3 times a day if I have had to keep the pigeon in.
Sometimes the thread or string will have tied the back toe inward, or twisted other toes in which case splinting will be required. Sometimes the pigeon will need a course of antibiotics to fight severe infection. Sometimes there is a strong possibility that the pigeon will lose the foot even though the thread had been removed. In these cases the pigeon will need to be kept safe for a period of time, either by the rescuer or by a pigeon friendly rescue centre. However, usually if you catch it early enough the pigeon can be released immediately.
What to do if a bird flies into a wall, if a bird flew into a window, if a pigeon knocked itself out.
If you see a pigeon with concussion you would be forgiven if you thought - mistakenly - that it had broken its neck and that there was no hope for it. But they can make a partial recovery within 24 hours and a complete recovery in a matter of days!
In her booklet Homeopathic Treatment for Birds, Beryl M Chapman describes concussed birds as standing with the head hanging down between the legs, or as lying down with wings extended and with its head twisted or held against its neck. She also says that they can be found fluttering in circles with their legs dragging behind them. When I found a concussed wood pigeon she was lying on the ground, flapping ineffectually with her eyes closed. Her neck was limp.
It is important that a pigeon suffering from concussion is not out under a heat lamp or on a heat pad.
Because they have probably suffered a blow to the head they will have a bad headache and will need to be somewhere cool, quiet and dark to recover.
I placed the wood pigeon in a towel formed into a "donut" shape, so that her head was supported and the danger of food or liquid spilling from her crop and being accidentally inhaled (which would be fatal) was reduced. I was lucky to have Beryl M Chapman's book and some homeopathic remedies, so in accordance to the book's instructions I gave her Arnica 200, giving her one pillule, once an hour for three hours. After that I reduced to the 30th potency 4 times a day.
I mixed up some rehydration solution (1/2 pint warm water, 1/2 tablespoon Glucose (or you can use honey, or sugar) and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I dipped her beak in the mixture without allowing the water to cover her nostrils and was surprised to find that even though she couldn't lift her head she could sip and swallow water. She drank eagerly.
Once I had established that she could swallow I gave her a single drop of Metacam that I had for the dog, placing it at the very front of her lower beak.
During the day I kept an eye on her, making certain that she was comfortable and that her head was propped up, dipping her beak in the rehydrating solution regularly. When I went to bed that night she was still unable to lift her head, but when I checked up on her at 2 am she was holding it in the normal position and I was able to offer her food (birdseed and defrosted peas ) in a dish which I placed within easy reach of her beak. .
It took her a few days to recover her ability to stand, and then to walk and then to fly but within a week she was back to normal.
What to do if you see a dizzy pigeon, a pigeon spinning in circles, a pigeon falling over, a pigeon twisting its head or with its head twisted upside down.
If you see a pigeon that is pecking at seed but missing it, tossing seed backwards over its head when it manages to pick one up, twisting its head at an unnatural angle or upside down , looking dizzy , looking drunk or spinning in circles, then the most likely cause is pigeon paramyxovirus.
Despite the severity of the symptoms the pigeons don't usually appear to be in discomfort or ill, we tend to describe them as "otherwise well"! However, The pigeon will need to be caught in order to isolate it from other pigeons that might become infected and to give it the supportive care that it will need to survive the disease.
Pigeon PMV can damage a pigeon's nervous system. Some pigeons make a quick recovery but can have the symptoms (not the virus) return weeks or months later, some will take longer as the healing process can be very slow, others will have residual nervous symptoms for the rest of their lives and will be unreleasable.
If you decide to take a pigeon with paramyxovirus to a rescue centre or to a vet the most likely outcome is that it will be euthanased, because PPMV is an infectious disease that requires the bird to be isolated from other pigeons for at least 6 weeks and most centres don't have the resources to do that. However, there are a few rescue centres that are equipped for nursing pigeons with PMV and some will be able to offer them a permanent haven if they don't make a complete recovery.
PIGEON PARAMYXOVIRUS is a viral disease that does not affect man or animals, but a human that handles a pigeon with PMV or the live vaccine can develop conjunctivitis if sensible precautions are not taken (eg, do not touch your eyes immediately after handling a pigeon with PMV or the live vaccine).
The incubation period can vary from a few days to several weeks. The most common symptoms seen by the rescuer, though only a few will be seen at the same time are : Pigeon turning in circles, difficulty picking up seed, pecking and missing, tossing seed backwards, staggering, extremely watery poops, thin broken solid droppings in a pool of liquid, fine tremor of eyes or head somersaulting in flight, crash landing, twisting neck, head upside down (torticollis, star gazing) , spiraling in flight, flying backwards , having fits, walking backwards.
Some of these symptoms are found in other illnesses, but not in the same combination. The presence of PPMV antibodies can be established by a blood test, I would advise anyone who suspects PMV and wants this confirmed, or wants to eliminate other causes of the symptoms, to use the Retford Poultry Partnership postal testing service.
Wildlife Rescue Centres tend to diagnose PMV on a combination of symptoms, eg polyuria (passing a lot of water) and polydipsia (drinking a lot of water) without weight loss, or polyuria and nervous symptoms.
During the recovery period keep pigeons with Pigeon PMV in a quiet, warm (not hot) cage with soft flooring away from any intense light source. Provide a brick for perching.
To ensure that they are able to pick up food place seed in a deep dish so that if they stab at random they can pick seed up.
Because Pigeon PMV can cause fits pigeons are at risk of drowning but they need free access to water. Provide water (with added electrolytes if possible) in a deep narrow container to minimise the risk of accidental drowning. Watch the pigeon to ensure it is drinking.
Hand feeding may be necessary. Frozen peas and sweetcorn thawed in hot water for about 10 minutes can be hand fed as in this video.
To work out how much food a pigeon needs, weigh the pigeon and the peas...feed the pigeon 1/20 (5%) of its weight in peas twice a day. For example, if a pigeon weighs 300 grams it would need 15 grams of peas and corn twice a day. If the pigeon is thin, or if it loses weight add a few more pieces at each feed.
If the pigeon is difficult to feed, then give the peas and corn in several small meals.
The disease runs its course in about 6 weeks, by that time the pigeon has stopped shedding the virus and won't infect other pigeons but nervous and gastro-intestinal symptoms may persist longer.
Vitamins should be given to boost the immune system. Probiotics can be used to crowd out any bad gut bacteria and electrolytes can be given to replace the electrolytes lost through polyuria (passing a lot of water).
I have found that providing a calcium supplement on arrival (Gem Calcium Syrup with Vitamin D3) has helped. The dose I gave was two drops a day for 3 days.
I have had some success treating the paralysis/stroke symptoms of Pigeon PMV using the homeopathic remedy Conium Maculatum (common hemlock) dosing with a single tablet of the 30 potency three times a day for up to 10 days. As the pilules must not be handled I find it easier to use plastic tweezers to pop them into the bird's mouth. Birds that tremble and fall over when they try to move because their balance is impaired may benefit from Argenitum Nit 30 potency, one tablet given 3 or 4times a day for up to 2 days. Belladonna can be used for birds that are restless with convulsive movement and jerking limbs. 2 pilules twice a day.
Homeopathic remedies should be given 20 minutes after food.
Pigeon PMV is highly infectious to other pigeons , victims should be kept isolated from other birds for at least 6 weeks. Maintain scrupulous hygiene , regularly disinfecting food and water containers with bleach. Always see to a pigeon with Pigeon PMV after you have treated your other birds. That reduces the risk of carrying the infection to other birds in your care.
The virus is mainly shed in the droppings and spreads in fecal dust,so make sure you wash your hands after contact and take care not to track fecal waste or carry fecal dust to areas where other birds are. Dispose of droppings wisely, they can be a source of infection to feral pigeons.
Sometimes a pigeon that has been caught by a cat, fallen from the nest or flown into something can tear one or more air sacs. This will cause the air to leak out accumulating under the skin.
A pigeon with a ruptured air sac will look as if it has a deformed but well inflated balloon under the skin.The swelling is usually in the head, breast and neck region, but can also appear under the wings, sometimes simultaneously.
The bird's skin will be stretched to the point of being slightly transparent.
If you press your finger gently on the skin it will dent, then fill up again when you remove your finger .
I have heard this condition describes as a pigeon full of air, a crop full of air (this can happen, but looks and feels different), and the incredible inflatable pigeon .
A small swelling can be left alone and will eventually repair itself ( a course of antibiotics such as Baytril or Synulox is recommended particularly if a cat or hawk attack is the suspected cause), but larger swellings will prevent a bird from eating and can press against the organs, so are better relieved if possible.
I usually advise people to contact a wildlife centre and ask an experienced person to talk them through the procedure on the telephone. Wing and a Prayer in Norfolk has done this successfully in two cases that I referred to them.
To deflate a large air bubble, use a sterile syringe needle if you have one, or sterilise a needle with a flame. Sterilise the area that you are going to treat, pinch the inflated skin together so that it makes a tent shape and gently insert the needle into the front of the tented area. Gently push the air out with your fingers.
The bubble will often refill and the procedure will often have to be carried out repeatedly. Keep the skin area clean and disinfected.
The pigeon will need to be kept somewhere quiet , on a clean towel in soft surroundings. Feed the bird small amounts of food, soft food is preferable.
If the bubble is a large one and keeps reinflating it might be necessary to have a vet treat it by inserting a drainage tube which will allow the bubble to deflate continuously until the air sac repairs itself. Sterilise the needle before you use it every time.
This video shows someone casually treating a ruptured air sac, it isn't as detailed and instructive as I would wish but should help.
A couple of years ago I was told that there was a fledgling dove on the ground near my office and that flies had been crawling over her. I picked her up, took her home and did a quick check for injuries and fly eggs. I didn’t find any.
The next morning I checked her again before carrying out the rest of my morning chores , she was fine then but two hours later as I was about to leave for work I checked her yet again : This time her tail area was a heaving mass of maggots and pulpy half eaten flesh , some of the maggots were already entering her vent . She had her eyes closed , was gasping and visibly going into shock. I realised that the flies that had been seen crawling over her had laid their eggs at the base of the feather shafts and that she was being eaten alive.
Contrary to popular belief the maggots that you might find on a pigeon, dove or any other wild animal are neither harmless nor beneficial, nor do they feed only on necrotic flesh. They are deadly.
Flies will lay hundreds of eggs in damp areas and orifices of vulnerable animals. The eggs look like tiny grains of rice which hatch very quickly into maggots. Because of the sheer quantity of maggots they will immediately start to feed on both healthy and necrotic flesh whilst they produce large quantities of toxins and toxic waste. Failure to remove the maggots will lead to the death of the bird.
During hot weather we should examine any sick or injured birds that come into our care for fly eggs and remove them with tweezers, forceps or with a stiff brush like a nail brush. If the maggots are hatched they must be removed immediately because every second the damage to the healthy tissues will increase.
In this particular case I used sterile saline to flush as many of the maggots as I could off the dove and out of her, then picked off stragglers with eyebrow tweezers. I dosed her with Moxydectin to kill any that I had missed and gave her Metacam for the pain . I also treated her for shock by keeping her warm and giving her Hartmann’s Fluids because she was so close to dying. After that I put her on a course of antibiotics.
Later I found out that it is possible to make a solution that kills maggots by mixing 1 part Ivermectin to 9 parts of water and using it in small quantities directly on the maggots. It must be applied as soon as it is mixed and any of the solution that is left over must be discarded, because it is unstable.
The confusion about the effect of maggots on birds has been caused by the publicity given to Maggot Therapy, which is a different matter altogether. This involves using small quantities of sterile maggots from the greenbottle fly for the debridement of wounds. These particular maggots are necrophagous (they only eat necrotic flesh) and are applied in a clinical environment under medical supervision.
My dove lost a few tail feathers, all but one grew back. Other than that she made a full recovery and was released into my garden with two other rescued doves.
Sometimes a pigeon's upper beak will longer than it should, usually in a downward curve or a hook. This will eventually make picking up seed impossible and the pigeon will become starved.
Beaks can be trimmed or filed to a more acceptable length, but trimming too far back can cause a serious bleed so trim off a tiny bit at a time
On white beaks identifying how much can be trimmed safely is relatively simple as the overgrown bit will be transparent making it easy to see where the blood supply starts , but in dark beaks it is much more difficult and it would be best to ask a veterinary nurse to do the job.
If you plan to trim a beak yourself have a supply of Cornflour ready and dip the beak in it if it starts to bleed and trim off a tiny bit at a time.
File down any rough bits. The trimmed beak is likely to overgrow again so pigeons with this condition would be better kept as pets or placed in the permanent care of a sanctuary.
Ticks are very common in collared doves and wood pigeons. They will usually be on the head and look like a soft brown lump. It is important that these are removed, - and removed properly - because they inject an anticoagulant into their host's blood , which can cause haemorrhaging and can also affect the nervous system causing neurological symptoms and often death.
If you find any you will need to ensure that you remove the whole tick including the head which will be buried in the bird's flesh. If you do not have a tick remover you can use tweezers: the claws of the tweezers as close as you can get to the birds body then gently twist anticlockwise. Dabbing the tick with Frontline first can weaken it and make it easier to remove.
Pigeons will lose a lot of feathers if they are caught by predators or hit by a car, most often those from the back, the tail and/or the flight feathers from the wings (these are the long ones at the end of the wings).
Sometimes (especially if they lose flight feathers) they will be unable to fly. However, the feathers will grow back within 6 weeks and if the pigeon is kept safe it will soon be releasable.
These photos show the progress of a young pigeon that had lost her tail feathers:
Starting to grow
The sight of a pigeon that has had its scalp torn back, often exposing the bone, is shocking.
Will a scalped pigeon survive? Yes! And treatment is very simple.
Here are some case histories:
Winnie the Pooh is a racing pigeon that was found huddled in a taxi rank in the city centre in November 2005.
She must have been hit by a car because had been scalped, was unable to use one wing and her beak wobbled alarmingly when touched.
Initially I treated her for shock by warming her on a heat pad for half an hour. then giving her rehydrating solution (1/2 pint warm water mixed with 1/2 tablespoon glucose, or honey or - if they are not available sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt) and gave her 1 drop of metacam in the bottom of the lower beak for the pain. Then I washed the wound with sterile saline (that can be made at home by mixing a spoon of salt salt with boiling water and allowing it to cool) and smeared Intrasite gel which I bought from the local chemist over the wound to keep it moist and llow it to heal without scabbing over which would have caused problems.
I gave her a 7 day course of an amoxycillin/clavunate combitation antibiotic (brands available in the UK are Synulox, Clavaseptim, Noroclav) which I obtained from my vet.
Winnie's skull healed quickly but the feathers took about 4 months to grow back.
This is Winnie in nearly six years later. Only a small scar remains at the site of the injury.
Moonshine was only a baby in the nest when she was rescued from a ledge in a town centre in mid April 2011. She must have been scalped some days earlier as the skin around the scalped area had dried into a ridge.
This time I used F10 Germicidal barrier ointment, smearing it on her head every time I fed her which 4 times a day. I also treated her with a course of Synulox in case there was an infection. The ointment softened the tissues and kept the wound moist. Because Moonshine was only a baby she healed very quickly.
This is Moonshine 6 weeks later:
The photos show the new feathers growing.
Sometimes when a baby pigeon is nesting its leg will slide out from under it and grow pointing out at the wrong angle. This can be corrected if caught early enough.
Case history : Gonzo
When I first saw Gonzo in 2004 she had already fledged and was feeding with a flock of pigeons in a grassy area in the city centre. One leg stuck out at almost a right angle to her body, she also had a hooked beak that made it difficult to pick up seed, but this gallant little bird showed no self pity and joined in the flock's formation flight overhead, distinctive even from the ground because of her deformity.
Despite her brave and positive attitude, her life expectancy was even lower than normal...90% of fledglings die within their first year of life and as her beak would soon make picking seed up impossible which would lead to starvation, so I took her home.
I didn't think that it would be possible to fix a splayed leg that late in her development - she must have been at least 6 weeks old. Fortunately someone called Marian Isaacs, who was a member of a forum that I consulted advised me that correction was still possible.
Marian recommended moving the legs back to their natural position and binding them there for a few weeks. I found out that when I moved the splay leg inwards, Gonzo was able to stand straight and normal, so I linked the legs with a length of Boots self adhesive bandage to hold the splay leg in but pressing the bandage between her legs together to avoid to leg being pulled too far towards the other. To my surprise, with this bandage support Gonzo was able to walk properly, fly and even perch!
As splay legs can be associated with a calcium deficiency I gave her supplements of Zolcal D.
I kept the bandages on for three weeks, removing them occasionally for a few minutes to see if the legs would hold: it did. She was able to walk and perch normally, lay and sit on eggs and have a normal, though sheltered, pigeon existence.
Gonzo grew up to be an odd little hen. She is much smaller than the others and her head is particularly small which makes her eyes look larger than usual. Her mate is one of the biggest cocks in the aviary, a handsome white pigeon so they make an odd couple. Her legs are a bit stiff now, so she walks with a bit of a waddle, but is significantly better that when I found her although her beak grows into a hook very quickly and needs regular trimming .
Pigeons are often caught by predators, mainly cat dogs and hawks. They are also often shot by heartless humans. Their injuries can be extensive , particularly if a hawk has started to eat them alive, but they can make an amazing recovery with care.
Antibiotic treatment is important, even if there is no visible signs of a wound....cats and dogs carry pasteurella in their saliva which can cause them to die of fatal pasteurella septicemia within 24 hours unless they receive antibiotics promptly...often they die before they show any symptoms. Hawk claws and bullets can push dirt and debris deep into a wound and this can cause infection.
The best antibiotic is an amoxycillin/clavunate combination such as Synulox, Noroclav or Clavaseptrin as these have the broadest action. Baytril, often the choice of vets, is not the ideal antibiotic as it may not be very effective against some puncture wounds and some bacteria. The dose of this combination for a pigeon is 1/4 of a 50mg tablet per every 100 gms of pigeon given twice a day for at least 7 days...for severe wounds the antibiotic treatment can continue for up to 21 days.
Check the bird for injuries on its breast, back and under the wings. It might also have a broken wing or a broken leg that will need setting by a vet...sometimes the crop ruptures and needs to be sutured. If you take a pigeon to a vet for treatment don't be bullied into having it put to sleep because its injuries look so bad . Their chances of survival are often incredibly high.
Unless the body cavity (internal organs) are visible, you should flush the wound aggressively with sterile saline then smear on an anti bacterial barrier cream such as F10. Keep the wound moist with the barrier cream so that a scab doesn't form...it is important to remove any scabbing as it appears and gradually clean new flesh will build up inside the wound cavity.
The bird will need to be treated for shock: warmed on a heat pad or on a hot water bottle, or under a heat lamp, for at least half an hour and then given rehydrating solution made by mixing 1/2 pint warm water , with 1/2 tablespoon of glucose, or honey (or if you can't get either of those, sugar) and half a teaspoon of salt. Dip the pigeon's beak in this solution to encourage it to drink.
Leave the pigeon overnight before attempting to make it eat...only when it is warm and rehydrated should you offer it food and even then it might be necessary to hand feed it: defrosted peas and corn, served warm and popped in the beak one at a time are a good choice for hand feeding. Start with very small feeds and then build up to around 100 pieces a day.
This little white dove was found on River Green In Norwich. The shot had gone through her wing shattering small bones, then into her breast and through the crop, exiting on the other side of the body.
The crop entry and exit wounds were small, she had to be fed carefully so that the food went below the level of the crop wound and didn't spill out of the crop or between the crop and the skin.
Not only did she survive and heal completely, she was also able to fly again!
This page is under construction, I need to add more case histories!
Canker is caused by a flagellate protozoan. It is not transmitable to humans or other mammals but can be caught by other birds that share the same water, eat seed dropped by an afflicted pigeon or through beak-to-beak contact.
The most common symptom is a yellow or brownish cheeselike growth in the mouth. This will usually be far back in the mouth...yellow growths outside the body or in the very front of the beak are not likely to be canker.
The condition must be treated, otherwise the pigeon will die of starvation, asphyxiation or choking.
It is important not to try to remove any of the growth unless you know what you are doing as this can cause a fatal bleed.
These are the most common symptoms of canker in pigeons:
SYMPTOMS IN SQUABS (baby pigeons)
Not all these symptoms will be present in each case. The symptoms appear 6 days after infection.
SYMPTOMS IN ADULTS
Not all these symptoms will be visible in each patient:
The condition is treated with Flagyl Syrup (obtained by veterinary prescription) or by Spartrix ,which can be obtained without prescription and given at a dose of 1 tablet once a day for 3 to 5 days. While it is being treated the pigeon might not be able to swallow but staff at a wildlife sanctuary should be able to find a way to tube feed it Critical Care Formula or Poly-Aid, which is a product designed to stop sick pigeons from starving. The canker will usually clear up completely within 10 days as this "after" photo of the pigeon pictured above shows.Canker is an organism that does not survive long outside the digestive tract and its associated organs so you won't find canker of the foot or anything similar. If you think a pigeon has canker of the foot it is more likely to be pigeon pox or scaly leg mite!