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Correct interpretation of carrier pigeon diseases – Part 1: Ornithosis complex

International Journal of Avian & Wildlife Biology
František Zigo,1 Silvia Ondrašovicová,2 Zuzana Farkašová,1 Jana Výrostková,3 Ivana Regecová,3 Ibrahim F Rehan4,5

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The most fundamental and important topics for carrier pigeon fanciers are health and form of their competitors. It does not matter how good a pigeon is or how well fed it is, an unhealthy pigeon will never be able to win a race. One of the most common diseases of carrier pigeons during the racing season is a respiratory illness named “Ornithosis Complex”. Also known as “Ornithose”, “Coryza” and “One-eyed Colds” it is caused most often by a combination of Chlamydia psittaci, Pasteurella, Mycoplasma, Herpes virus and many other common bacteria such as Yersinia, Enterobacter, Streptococci and Staphylococci. Once both old and young birds have started their training and racing program, they are likely to develop an ornithosis complex, showing symptoms of swollen or puffed feathers around the ears, dry plumage, blue flesh and a disruption to moulting. Pigeons that arrive home showing signs of extreme fatigue and typical ornithosis symptoms should be treated directly with a combination of prescribed treatments, isolated from healthy birds and should not be flown to avoid spreading the disease. The study points to the fact that ornithosis complex is not a difficult problem when carrier pigeons do not overflow. It will become a big problem only after the start of the racing season, which will take away the success of many breeders.


coryza, one-eyed colds, respiratory, symptoms, Chlamydia psittaci