Pigeons are generally unhygienic birds and prolific breeders that are harbingers of over sixty diseases. One of the common diseases that afflict pigeons is the PPMV1 or pigeon paramyxovirus. Additionally, this viral disease is also known as Avian paramyxovirus type 1.
What are the PMV virus in pigeons’ symptoms?
There are various signs and symptoms of the PMV virus when the flock is afflicted by the viral disease. One of the most common signs is that the diseased pigeons are wary of leaving the loft when they are released for their daily exercises and are generally fluffed up and lethargic. Additionally, there are other signs that you may want to look out for:
- Large number of afflicted pigeons
- Loss of appetite
- Drowsiness/ aversion to activity
- Enhanced thirst
- Labored breathing and other respiratory distress
- Diarrhea (green/watery)
- Head shaking/circling and other neurological signs
- Complete or partial paralysis
How is PPMV1 Diagnosed?
Though you may notice the symptoms, for treatment of paramyxovirus, it is important that the veterinarian diagnoses it correctly. Confirmation of the disease requires laboratory diagnosis. Cloacal swabs and pharyngeal swabs are taken and placed in chilled phosphate-buffered gelatin saline (PBGS) for transportation. In emergencies, the swabs can be placed in 1 ml of sterile saline for same-day delivery to the laboratories.
How Does Pigeon Paramyxovirus Spread?
As PPMV1 is very infectious, it can be easily transmitted in flocks of pigeons. The infected pigeons may carry the virus in their eggs, shed in the bodily discharges and feces. The virus is infectious for several weeks. This can contaminate the environment which includes the feed, water and even human clothing. That can further snowball and infect healthy pigeons in the flock. Other factors that can enhance the spread of the pigeon paramyxovirus includes:
- Contact with feral pigeons
- Contact with contaminated crates and travelling boxes
- Shared water and feed in lofts
Are There Ways of Paramyxoviridae Prevention?
Yes, there are many preventive methods to stop the contamination and spread of the PPMV1. And that is one of the best ways to stop your pigeons from getting infected.
- Prevent the contact of your pigeons with strays and feral pigeons.
- Limit visitors to the lofts
- Isolate infected pigeons for at least two weeks
- Keep the lofts clean and sanitized
- Disinfect the lofts, equipment, transport regularly
- Prevent feed and water from contamination by feral pigeons’ discharges and feces
What Is Known About Pigeon Paramyxovirus Treatment?
The fact is that there is no customized Treatment of paramyxovirus. It has been seen that most of the pigeons infected with PPMV1 due within 3 days. However, there are chances of survival if the infection is detected early and supported by giving probiotics, acidifying agents, and adding electrolytes to the drinking water.
Prevention is the best cure. To start with, it is essential that the Paramyxovirus pigeon vaccine is given on time. The disease is primarily in younger pigeons that have not been vaccinated twice and are seen in older pigeons that have not been given the annual booster vaccine on time. Those pigeons that have minor signs of the disease recover with the supportive therapies, as mentioned above.
Will Pigeon Virus Spread in Humans?
It can spread, but human infections due to PPMV1 are extremely rare. It only happens when there is direct contact of humans with infected pigeons. If you are infected with the pigeon virus in humans, the symptoms are mild-flu-like. There are very low chances of viral transmission to other animal species.
Are Paramyxovirus Pigeon Vaccine Effective?
Although there is no known cure for Paramyxovirus currently except supportive therapy, there is an oil-based vaccine that helps to prevent viral infection. The Paramyxovirus pigeon vaccine needs to be given as an injection in the lower part of the neck (at the back). The pigeons can be inoculated from five weeks of age by two injections that are a month apart. This needs to be followed up with an annual vaccination booster dose. However, it is essential that the vaccination equipment is clean and sterilized before it is used.
Thus, it can be concluded that even though PPMV1 is highly infectious but the infection can be prevented with care and a proper vaccination schedule.