With over 250 known varieties of pigeons found all over the world, while over two-thirds of those are native to Southeast Asia, Australia, and some of the Pacific island. However, different species of pigeons are found in South America and Africa. The unique aspect of pigeons is that all of the spices suck liquids instead of sipping and swallowing as other avian species do.
Whether you have pigeons for display as pets or for flying or sports, ensuring that they are healthy and happy is important. That is why when you find that the pigeons have twisted necks can be a difficult sight to take in. Though there are many diseases that have neck twisting as a symptom, here is more information about pigeon neck twisting treatment.
What Causes Neck Twisting in Pigeons?
If your pigeon has been twisting its head at weird angles or has started to look upside down, tossing the seed backward that it picked up, or looks dizzy, you need to know that it has been afflicted with pigeon paramyxovirus.
Symptoms of paramyxovirus
Although not all pigeons affected with paramyxovirus may display all of these symptoms but these are usually some of the signs you can associate with it:
- Fine tremors of the head/eyes
- Solid feces in a pool of liquid
- Crash landings
- Walking dizzy/staggering
- Finding it difficult to peck seed
- Tosses seeds backward
- Head upside down/twisted neck
- Spiraling during flight
- Turning in circles
- Head backwards toward its tail
This is not bird-flu and there is rare transmission to humans handling sick birds. If you did handle a sick bird without gloves or proper safety gear, you’ll only catch conjunctivitis and nothing else. However, it is important to protect yourself before you come in contact with pigeons suffering from this virus as you can become a carrier as you go about caring for other pigeons.
What is pigeon paramyxovirus?
There are many viral and bacterial diseases that pigeons are susceptible to, and paramyxovirus is a viral disease. Usually, it has been noticed that the spread of the disease is due to the movement of pigeons between lofts. It spreads by direct contact with infected birds that shed the virus in the feces or respiratory discharge which can contaminate the feed and water of the other pigeons in the loft. You need to be careful while handling sick pigeons as this virus can survive in cool weather for many weeks in the environment.
Related Read: What not to feed pigeons?
The paramyxovirus basically damages the central nervous system. Some of the infected pigeons may recover from the infection but can continue to have the symptoms for months. Others can have a residual impact of the symptoms lifelong.
Preventing the spread
Even though the symptoms are severe, the pigeons do look to be in discomfort. But it is important that before other birds’ in the loft catch the virus, the infected pigeons need to be isolated so that they do not transmit the disease further on. Additionally, by giving supportive care in the early stages, it can improve the condition of the afflicted birds.
As pigeon paramyxovirus is an infectious disease, it is essential that the afflicted pigeon is separated and isolated from the loft for at least 6 weeks.
How To Cure Pigeon Neck Twisting?
To start with pigeon neck twisting treatment, proper diagnosis is important. Some of the above-mentioned symptoms are common to other bacterial and viral infections that are commonly found in pigeons. However, these sets of symptoms are unique for PPMV.
Bloodwork can diagnose the viral infection correctly. Though there is no specific medicine, preventive vaccination is available. Supportive care and treatment of specific symptoms can help. Additionally, proper supportive therapy and care for 6 weeks can help the pigeons recover:
- Keep the diseased pigeon in a warm cage with soft flooring and soft lights. It helps to put a brick inside the cage for perching.
- Put a deep dish with seeds so that they can peck at random even with twisted necks and find seeds.
- Plenty of water is important but due to the seizures they experience, drowning in the water dish is a possibility, so put the water with electrolytes in a deep narrow container.
- Adding Electrolytes, calcium supplements, vitamins and probiotics can help with the pigeon neck twisting treatment.
And finally, check with the avian veterinarian frequently so that the right treatment can be availed at the earliest. Clean environs and hygienic conditions in the loft can stop the spread even if a few pigeons become sick at any given time.