Newsletter November 2014

Paratyphoid Management

In recent years I have regularly paid attention to the subject paratyphoid. However, this time of the year it remains the main topic, where questions are asked about it. I other articles and newsletters I already discussed the symptoms several times extensively. Therefore in this article I want to restrict myself mainly to the management of this complex disorder.

Paratyphoid is a disease caused by Salmonella, typhimurium var Copenhagen. In the clinic I quite often get comments from fans, that they are convinced they got the disease from somewhere else. For example through the chickens of the neighbors. Moreover, these fans forget the fact that the strain of Salmonella is species specific. The Salmonella is a bacteria that can affect the immune system of pigeons with major problems. I have compared this bacteria, along with Staph, to an assassin. These bacteria may already be present a long time before problems arise. The bacterium cuts the legs from the immune organ, until eventually there may be constraints for doing so. As mentioned, the bacteria may have long been silently present.


Now, during Autumn, most manure cultivation are done to see if there is an infection in paratyphoid present. Autumn is the best time of the year to do this. Because, round this time of the year pigeons usually do not get any medication, that the infection gets swept under the carpet. Giving antibiotics usually ensures that the bacterium is temporarily not detectable in the manure. Autumn is also the time of year that the resistance of the pigeons can be under pressure because of the moulting, but also by the often poor weather conditions at this time.

If the bacterium has already been easily detectable, then it is during this period. Its best to collect manure a day or five, because the bacteria in carriers is not always found in the (everyday) manure because of the varying excretion.
We have extended the studies by testing for the presence of the bacterium in the clinic by using more sensitive tests. This ensures that we find more infections than before. But even with these better tests we find the bacteria in only about 10% of the submitted samples. One can consider this a high percentage, but one needs bearing in mind that the manure samples we get offered to research come mainly from breeders who already feel their pigeons produce bad manure or are not in good doing. So it is not a representative sample.


On the other hand, there are also lovers who support the natural resistance of the pigeons using SGR. By these breeders salmonella is only in exceptional cases shown in the manure. We may, in view of the practical studies cautionly say that there are significant lofts where secretion occurs in the manure. Still, it is clear that the majority of the lofts does not suffer. In this light, the question whether it is right if it is absolutely necessary to provide a 'preventive' cure every autumn against paratyphoid. Especially if we consider that a large month after the end of the cure, in most lofts where the carriers are, excretion via manure cheerful starts again. I therefore think it is a pointless exercise somewhere. If we bear in mind here that this secretion is in practice reduced to almost nil with lovers giving extra attention to supporting the resistance, then the question is entitled or one cannot keep the powder dry better until there are real problems. But old habits are difficult to revise. Especially in the pigeon sport.


The government is known as the pickets to the object with respect to the possibilities of the use of antibiotics. Also seen in that light it would be, in the sport, wise to reflect on the (often unnecessary) use of preventive paratyphoid cures in the autumn. If I convince breeders that it is usually carrying water to the sea, then I hear these breeders, often after a time, that they really did not see any difference in their breeding results and so on. But yeah, the force of habit is still often stronger than common sense. The fear of poor breeding results drives many enthusiasts to ever display the paratyphoid cure in the autumn. The argument is always that the breeding went well because they gave the cure.

A poor breeding is not exclusively caused by paratyphoid. There are several bacteria that may play a causal role, but also viruses.
However, in such instances, giving a course of antibiotics may prove useful. Simply because the infection pressure is placed on the width down. Not only the infection pressure of the paratyphoid bacillus. But then, as mentioned earlier, it would be wiser to help increase the resistance? Pigeons with enough resistance have little to no disruption of this bacterium, or others.

The vitality of the pigeons is, in support of the resistance as a whole up and the good intestinal bacteria are not killed off by the antibiotic.
Research aided by a microbiologist from New York, Professor Martin Blaser, revealed that some species of beneficial intestinal bacteria permanently removed from the intestinal flora after each cure of antibiotics. So in time, one is not doing well by providing regular antibiotics. Furthermore comes from research, our intestinal flora plays a role in bringing fruition of our immune system. Stated simply, the intestinal flora makes that the immune organ can mature. The insights take further that giving antibiotics to young creatures frequently, the development of the immune system might slow down and be limited.

Infected and then?

Every year we find a few lofts where the birds are infected with this bacteria. In these cases it is important to take a number of measures, to increase the infection pressure and the excretion as much as possible. Only giving medication, as indicated earlier is bringing water to the sea. We have seen that the excretion can be back after a month of absence. Yet, giving a good cure is very important. Sufficient length and sufficiently high dose. But one should not stop after that.

This also means that the loft has to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with an effective product. Self we recommend Virkon S for this purpose. The disinfectant can then be routinely repeated some time. Practical experience shows over the years, after all, that even lofts that have been left empty for a longer time, because of the paratyphoid, new cases of Paratyphoid reoccur after reoccupation. The Salmonella bacteria should simply not be underestimated. On the other hand there is no reason for panic. Just proceed with common sense. After a thorough cure, vaccinating your pigeons against this bacterium is also necessary. This will have to be continued strategically through the years. Vaccinating ones will not solve the problem, even as an one-time cure of one-time disinfection of the loft will not do this.

Increasing resistance

In addition to the aforementioned measures to remedy the worst emergency in an outbreak, it is important to now pay attention to the resistance and to delve into the opportunities that are available now. There are more companies who have launched supporting products on the market. But if one wants to take the trouble to read the literature, they also find plenty of tips to improve the rusted up habits that also is the cause of the lack of resistance…. When the body is infected with paratyphoid bacilli, a competition with the present bacteria in the intestines will occur. A good and healthy intestinal flora will not easily cede to the newcomers. Also for the survival of the intestinal flora applies Survival of the fittest. Although opinions on this issue diverge, there are plenty of voices who say that supporting the gut flora with good intestinal bacteria earned a place in a well-paratyphoid management. This implies that one can provide probiotics and prebiotics on a regular basis.

The Salmonella bacteria is a predator that can provide, as known cause problems in many places in the body of the pigeons. Normally, he enters the body through the intestine. Therefore there must be a first line of defense that works well. A properly functioning intestinal flora plays an important role. To put pressure on the intestinal flora with antibiotics is a form of preventive dispensing is not really helpful. The emphasis would be correct, for several reasons, by strengthening the intestinal flora. We should limit the use of antibiotics, from a good management perspective, till the cases where proven that there is a need to provide them. That means in clinical outbreaks and by secretion of the bacteria through the intestine. It is up to you as a fan to make the choice. There are plenty of vets who feel that they can safely give a cure in the autumn. There can be some arguments to do it on some lofts, but for other lofts there are arguments against to cure. I just showed the other side of the medallion.

Good Luck!
Peter Boskamp