Newsletter Pigeon January 2012

New Year

From here, I want to wish all readers of the newsletter a happy and above all a healthy 2012.

When I'm writing this newsletter, the new year is about to start. The previous year slipped by. A lot of people ‘complain' that time flies. This is something I almost agree to after these busy months. These last few months were important for the lectures, sales shows and forums. During these meeting, it is obvious that, observing the comments, quite a lot of people have a different opinion of ‘natural support' for the pigeons. Pigeon fanciers who visit the clinic are usually the lovers who know my philosophy on supporting the pigeons. At sale shows and such, a lot of lovers ask questions about this manner of supporting and what it exactly means. In these moments, I realize that we've come a long way, but there are still some ambiguities. Many a man thinks I use merely natural products to keep the pigeons healthy. This is not the case. I use certainly medication when the pigeon's ill. The part that is true, is this, I try to minimize the use of medication. The use of medication after the flight season should be, in my opinion, little to none. It is important to make a distinction in the game type. Indeed during long distance flights it is possible to get fantastic results with little to no use of medication. For the typical program players, this is not (yet) possible. But still, there are opportunities for the taking. Even with the youngsters, there is a lot possible. But people have to think outside the box.

It is ofcourse obvious that when a pigeon becomes sick, we're lucky if there's an antibiotic available which cures the pigeon from the infection. Naturally, in these cases we have to act adequate and thorough. Besides this, it is wise to see if the outbreak of the infection's due to poor resistance of the pigeons. A subversion of the resistance which increases the chance of all kinds of infections. If we, as vets, just prescribe antibiotic with the underlying thought ‘fingers crossed', in my opinion, we are doing a lousy job. Indeed, this treatment guarantees the pigeon lover a new treatment with antibiotic for a new (different?) infection. The neglect of giving good advice to prevent repetition, even giving advice on supporting and increasing the resistance of the pigeons is to be considered taking absolutely insufficient veterinary action.

What has to be said is that in time of sickness, effective and powerful actions have to be taken in order to prevent repetition. And in case of prevention, there are nature based options (natural support with zootechnical measures). In practice, it seems that we can support the pigeons in a way that decreases the chance of infection. This means that, in time, selection becomes possible. So, chronically weak pigeons aren't kept alive with medications. This also means that the pressure of infection could drop. The outbreaks will diminish. So the need for antibiotics reduces.

"The best ‘cure' is and will be selection."

It isn't of this time that we only rely on water and food for performances. The pigeons sport has become a top-level sport. Leaving too much to chance is a guarantee for failure. Obvious, you start by having fine pigeons, then you have to be a good lover in order to see what's going on in the pigeon world, you have to be consistent and as a lover you can't ‘go with the flow'. During the winter season, prices are established. But even through the flight season, using your common sense is required.

Supplying supplements can be of use. This is a proven fact. But providing supplements is only useful when it is complemented with a solid training and consistent action. I won't draw up any flight schedules if it means omitting consistent action. In my opinion, every dovecot is different and there isn't a ready-made solution. But I've changed my opinion and set up a guideline for the flight season, but this has two reasons. First, everybody benefits if one doesn't omit the solid training. On the other hand, it will give some insight into ‘coloring' the water every day.

In the following few months, I will talk in my newsletters about common diseases and new insights and developments.

In anticipation for the next newsletters, it is wise to give a summary of the different kinds of sets of infections with could manifest in the pigeons.

A. Bacterial infections (like Paratyphoid, Streptococci)

B. Viral diseases (like Paramyxovirus, Herpes)

C. Protozoan diseases (like Coccidiosis and Trichmoniasis)

D. Ectoparasites (like Lice and Mites)

E. Endoparasites (like Roundworms and Tapeworms)

It may be unnecessary to draw up a partition, but many a man still seems to believe that antibiotics can cure a viral infection. This is a big misconception we come across. Only the secondary bacterial infections can be fought off with antibiotics, so the primary viral infection remains.

Furthermore, it is a fact that for the combatting of protozoan infections like Canker, only a limited number of drugs is available. And also these drugs belong to the same category (Imidazole compounds), so resistance against one of those drugs means resistance against all of them. In case of Canker infection, it is becoming increasingly important to battle the infection thoroughly and not resort to short, meaningless antibiotics.

Good luck,

Peter Boskamp