Good health starts with optimal bowel function. The statement that 'death is in the intestines' is not an empty cry. You do not want to know how many completely healthy pigeons still carry viruses and bacteria that can cause major problems and even mortality as soon as circumstances change in favour of these pathogens.
In veterinary medicine, extensive attention was paid to the pathogenic bacteria and viruses during the training. It is, of course, a good thing if veterinarians are properly trained in medical science. But as often, little or no attention is paid to healthy intestinal bacteria. The presence of the whole of (good) intestinal inhabitants is now called the Microbiome. In the past there was talk of intestinal flora. The extent to which the good intestinal bacteria are represented plays a very important role in the health of the animal. Even though there are also pathogenic bacteria in the Microbiome of the gut, this does not mean that the animals actually get sick. Often much more is needed.
We now know that a number of these pathogens cannot be eradicated with antibiotics, if at all. With a thorough knowledge of this Microbiome is still a world to win with regard to the health of animals. Veterinarians and in their wake the fanciers, have been interested over the years to keep the fight against pathogens by keeping antibiotics in line. Sometimes antibiotics are cured, while it is often established that (similar) problems arise after a short time. For example, we have seen a few cases of paratyphus in the clinic this year less than a month after these (German) fans with Baytril had given a 14 day cure. One of these enthusiasts had never even cured paratyphoid because he had never had problems with it. However, he had convinced himself by a colleague milker to do this anyway. As said, the fancier had never had problems with paratyphoid, played very well and had on the eye pigeons with a very good health. He was completely distraught when after a good month the pigeons not only got clinical paratyphoid, but also turned out to be full with the Bully.
How can that be, you will probably wonder. Most likely the fancier had an optimally functioning Microbiome where the paratyfusbacil present did not stand a chance, because the conditions for this pathogen were very unfavorable. The pigeons were in good health.
However, the cures with the Baytril did not only reduce the paratyphoid bacilli, but also the good intestinal bacteria had to pay for it by donating this antibiotic. Now Baytril used to work well against the Bully. It is more than likely that the good name that this product used to have had in part because of this. Only then did we not know of the existence of this bacterium as a problem for pigeons. Meanwhile, the Baytril hardly ever works against this causer, so giving Baytril seems counter-productive.
With this fancier the paratyphoid bacteria recovered faster from the antibiotics than the good gut bacteria, which gave them in the Microbiom the upper hand over the good intestinal bacteria, which in this case much slower recovered. This made the environment more favourable for these paratyphoid bacteria, so that clinical symptoms could arise. Instead of moving forward, this enthusiast has been deteriorating. After all, he had never had paratyphoid problems before. So it was again a case where death was in the gut. Now there are always infections that make the pigeons so ill that they make it necessary to give antibiotics. We need more than ever to take proper account of the effects these drugs have on the Microbiome.
The latest insights make it clear that we cannot eradicate many diseases. Strengthening the Microbiome may turn out to be much more effective in such cases than trying to deal with diseases through antibiotics. The resistance problem has also not passed the pigeon sport. Many people who do not or hardly use antibiotics themselves can be confronted with a resistance pattern with bacteria in the Microbiome of their pigeons, which is worrying. When there is extensive resistance, it often takes me a lot of effort to persuade the relevant enthusiasts that the strengthening of the Microbiome instead of putting the Microbiome under pressure, by using the few resources that still work.
The resistance of bacteria against certain agents is shared very quickly by the residents of the Microbiome under the guise of being stronger together.
In itself, a Microbiome with a high resistance pattern is not yet a drama. Obviously it is only when the pigeons have to deal with a basket infection with a strongly sickening variant of a pathogenic bacterium. Precisely because the resistance is led so quickly between the residents of the Microbiome, this resistance also comes into the possession of the bacteria that we do not want to have in the intestine. In this way we are unnecessarily confronted with the increasing problems of ill-fighting pathogenic bacteria. Anyone who reads the above well will have become clear that it is certainly more than a must, outside the playing season, to stay off the medication, if this is not strictly necessary. Practice learns and scientifically this has also been investigated, that the resistance problem can quickly decrease by confronting the bacteria with antibiotics, but doing the opposite, namely by strengthening the Microbiome with good intestinal bacteria.
This new insight strengthened our desire to further support the health of the intestine. Over the years we had already launched several products on the market, including the Bony SGR and the Bony Sambucca. These products strengthen the good gut bacteria in the Microbiome. But in the case of high resistance in the intestines to the residents against antibiotics, the strengthening of the Microbiome with good bacteria has proved to be of even greater importance. To this end, we have tried to achieve this goal with fermented herbal beverages since mid-2016. The results turned out to be much better than we had dared to dream in advance.
The fanciers who have tried the Bony Bio Compleet with their pigeons are therefore almost unanimously very satisfied with the results. Where in the beginning we advised to provide the drink for 7-10 consecutive days, it soon became apparent that after a day or four the characteristic improvements became clearly visible. It is noticeable that the down pullover increases considerably, the manure is usually improved and the pigeons become tierier and in many cases very soft with featherwork. It is precisely the combination of the selected good bacteria that makes this possible, even more than other probiotics can. Especially in the moulting period it is a valuable support for intestinal health and moulting in general.
Moral of this story? Consider seriously letting go of the idea that with antibiotics all problems can be solved. Not only in the interests of your pigeons but also in your own interests. It is known from pig farming and the poultry world that cattle farmers often also carry the multiresistance strains of the bacteria that could make their animals ill. With pigeon fanciers this may not be much different. Prevention is still better than cure.
By popular demand, the book "Keeping pigeons healthy" is now also available in English, German and French. This will be available at the Spring fair in Houten (3 and 4 March) and at the website www.bonyfarma.com, at the special offer price of € 29.95, normal € 44.95.