Trichomonosis (Trichomonas columbae) is a very contagious disease and very frequent in racing pigeons. It is caused by a protozoan parasite or flagellate, nestling in the throat, crop and oesophagus of the pigeon, which gives other infections an opportunity to infiltrate. Therefore it can also be called ‘the mother of many other diseases’.
In mild infections, there is only a loss of condition and an increase in the production of mucus in the throat, but in more severe cases there are yellow, cheese-like growths in the throat, sometimes resulting in death. Young pigeons in the nest can also have an infection of the navel leading to irreversible damage to the liver. In contrast to coccidiosis, the pigeon has no resistance to this parasite and even the slightest infection will require radical treatment.
There are three infection ways by which the disease is being transmitted:
- Young pigeons fed by their infected parents,
- direct contact with infected pigeons (during transport),
- drinking of infected shared water.
- Bad flying performances
- Disturbed digestion (watery droppings)
- Respiratory problems
- Yellow desposit in the beak
- Growth recession and loss of shape
- Damaged liver
Treatment and prevention
To keep this disease under control, it is advisable to give the pigeons a treatment at regular intervals, such as:
- During the breeding season, because the youngsters in the nest are the most susceptible to a trichomonas infection
- At the start of the racing season, to be able to start with healthy and trichomonas-free pigeons
- With the youngsters about two weeks after weaning, when all youngsters are eating and drinking well. This way the youngsters are certainly healthy when they start their first flights.
- When you introduce new pigeons, it is advisable to treat them first or have them examined for trichomonas before you introduce them to the other pigeons. This way, your own pigeons do not have to be treated every time.
- With a treatment, the dosage and the duration of the treatment is very important to prevent resistance. Therefore, it is best to treat in the winter period and in the spring, through the feed or with tablets, to guarantee the dosage.
- Regular acidification of the drinking water will also suppress a trichomonas infection. Adding organic acids, like Herbolan, to the drinking water of young pigeons can have a positive influence on this.