How To Treat Adenovirus In Pigeons | Adenovirus Pigeons Symptoms & Causes

Pigeons along with doves are stout-bodied birds that are found in most parts of the world. Most people keep pigeons are a source of entertainment, hobby, or pets while for others, pigeons are harbingers of pathogens. 

As per statistics, there are over 400 million pigeons worldwide and with an increase in urban areas, there is a steady rise in the population of these birds. When you have them as pets, you need to take care of them and get them treated for diseases that they might be afflicted with. 

Is Adenovirus In Pigeons Easy To Detect?

Although adenovirus infects a large number of mammals and birds, usually birds are hosts or carriers for the infection. Pigeon adenovirus 1 or PiAd-1 has symptoms that are very similar to the young pigeon disease syndrome (YPDS). 

In the past, Type 1 adenovirus only affected the younger pigeons. but in the last few years, there has been an increase in the afflictions of the old pigeons which usually leads to death, due to “Necrotizing hepatitis” or Type 2 pigeon adenovirus disease (PiAV2). 

What are the Adenovirus Pigeons’ Symptoms?

The symptoms of adenovirus in pigeons start suddenly.

Related Read: Pigeon Diseases | Common sick pigeon symptoms & Behaviour

The most common signs are heavy vomiting, fatigue, anorexia, and diarrhea.  The infection spreads quickly and usually; young pigeons are affected initially. The infections last for about five to ten days. Though initial symptoms are vomiting, it is followed up with green watery, and slime-filled diarrhea

If there is an overriding E. Coli infection, the disease will last longer and that is why E. coli infection needs to be treated quickly. PiAV1 is usually observed in pigeons that are less than a year-old. 

How To Diagnose Adenovirus In Pigeons?

Usually, the adenovirus infection is introduced in the loft by a feral pigeon or after travel basket contact. The virus breeds within the host and is excreted which in turn contaminates the feed and water, leading to infection among the young pigeons in the loft. 

The Type 2 (PiAV2) adenovirus infection. affects the adult pigeons, the infection leads to necrotizing hepatitis or massive liver and intestinal damage.  

Diagnosing the disease is done by the sudden onset of the symptoms. Later, bloodwork is done in infected pigeons while other diagnostic tests and scans are done to gauge the level of tissue damage done in internal organs. As dozens of pigeons die after an outbreak in the loft, an autopsy can confirm the lesions.

When Was Adenovirus Identified Initially?

Originally, Type 1 Adenovirus was identified in 1984 as a pigeon disease distinctively in Belgium and primarily occurs in young pigeons that are under stress in overcrowded lofts or preparing for first races. While in 1992, the first cases of Type 2 Adenovirus were identified in Europe that afflicted older birds. 

How To Treat Adenovirus In Pigeons?

As there is no effective vaccine available it becomes important to manage the E. Coli infections which oftentimes turn fatal for the birds. It helps to boost natural immunity in pigeons so that they can stave off mild infections. 

It is important to call on an avian veterinarian for the specific treatment plan as the symptoms often mimic salmonellosis and PMV.  It is recommended to start Sulfa-trimethoprim in the water for 7 days to reduce stress and boost immunity. 

What Are the Preventive Measures To Take For Spread Of Adenovirus In Pigeons?

You need to protect the uninfected ad healthy pigeons from the ones that are sick. To begin with, you need to:

  • Isolate the sick birds
  • Cull the pigeons that are severely sick with liver and intestinal damage
  • Support therapy for those with mild infections
  • Avoid overcrowding in lofts
  • Sanitize and maintain hygiene

Though there is no fool-proof method on how to treat adenovirus in pigeons, there is a recommended protocol to ensure that the bird vitality returns to normal. 

(SulfaTrimethoprim) for 5-10 days can save the lives of the pigeons and control secondary infections. Well-balanced protein-rich food, plenty of water, and electrolytes need to be given. 


It is advised that a veterinarian is consulted even if there are just a few birds developing the symptoms as the infections spread very quickly and chances of fatalities are high in old birds.

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