The ornithosis complex

The ornithosis complex

Respiratory diseases and the Adeno-coli complex, are during the racing season the greatest threat to the health of the pigeons.

A sharp outbreak of ornithosis complex can quickly put an end to many illusions.One can distinguish between a number of different diseases and pathogens. In theory this is interesting but for a practical approach to the problem of respiratory diseases, it is better to speak of "ornithosis complex".

Under the ornithosis complex in pigeons, we understand the interplay of disorders of the upper respiratory tract. Pure infections by certain pathogens will exist , but mostly it is a combination of one or more agents and other factors causing problems.

Interplay of factors that I will elaborate later.

Causes and symptoms

There are many agents of infections that can be distinguished. Many of these agents often provide a number of similar symptoms. We can distinguish viral, bacterial, protozoan, and additionally distinguish infections with mycoplasmas and chlamydiae.

Usually we see the familiar phenomena of the upper airways ranging from wet eyes, swollen ears, rattling breathing, frequent sneezing, coughing (with light pressure on the windpipe), scratching the ears and wiping their eyes.

Frequent yawning may also point toward the respiratory tract and also mucus in the throat.

In short there is a whole range of phenomena that indicate the direction of respiratory infections.

Sometimes some of these symptoms are quite specific to an agent, as is the inflammation of the eye often involves pure ornithosis due to a chlamydial infection.
Diphtheric herds in throat and trachea are usually caused by a herpes infection.
But in most cases, the symptoms indicate a large number of possible pathogens.
Further research to find out the cause is often desirable.


Through swabs of the eyes and swabs of the cloaca , some of the causes are shown.

In other cases, bacteriological research has to give an outcome. These results take a few days to come. Also in sections, the results often takes several days, also because further bacteriological investigation should take place.

Assessment of canker through throat swabs in this context is also important. Birds infected with canker turn out to be significantly more susceptible to other respiratory illnesses.

Interplay of factors

As said, the symptoms are in some cases very characteristic. But infection with the herpes virus does not always rise to visible symptoms. It appeared that 60% of the birds are "serologically positive" on antibodies to the herpesvirus. So this means that 60% of the birds had contact

with the virus and formed antibodies against it. But not all birds are sick with this infection.

The same applies to the infection with Chlamydiae. Against this, more than 50% of the pigeons

have antibodies in their blood. So again many birds are infected without being sick.

The same is true for several other pathogens such as Staphylococci and mycoplasmas.

But also the viruses involved in a number of youngsters at an age of 1.5 to 2 months do not always

let them suffer from clinical disease.

We can therefore say that many birds carry pathogens without being sick.
Whether or not a disease will outbreak depends on several factors.

If many birds are kept in a small space, so if there is overcrowding there will be more sick birds .

The stress from overcrowding makes the animals more susceptible to the pathogens that are still present. These are also found in transportation. There are many birds and the carriage itself

is stressful.

But apart from stress and other causes as overcrowding is also the strength of the pathogen of interest. Thus, potent pathogens lead to disease rather than mild pathogens. It is important therefore that if drugs should be given to combat these pathogens, then these are provided in sufficiently high doses and that the medication is given for a sufficient time.

(Some medications on the market today contain only 5% active ingredients. The risk of underdosing, due to application of these drugs more than likely).

Another important factor whether or not there will be an outbreak are loft circumstances.

The loft should be dry,warm and draft free. Draft is harmful to birds.

Moisture contributes to the formation of mold. And fungi in turn contributes to undermining the defense of the pigeons.

It means that several factors play a role in whether or not a disease breaks out among the pigeons .

The most important factor for a bird is its own defense.This is a factor that is often neglected. Every fancier should ensure that the birds have the highest possible resistance.

Birds with higher resistance are less susceptible to other factors that play a role in the outbreak of clinical infections.

It is therefore important to ensure that youngsters growe up with the best possible resistance.


This prevents that during the racing season, especially with the youngsters, that the slightest infection pressure will lead to clinical symptoms.

Many fanciers try to overcome lack of resistance by the use of drugs. Although today it is hard to play entirely without drugs it would be good if the use of drugs could be limited.

To achieve this we need to work more preservative. We have to start during the breeding. If we assume that over 50% of the pigeons are carriers of Chlamidiae it is obvious that the risk exists that the youngsters are infected with these parasites in the nest.

If we ensure optimal breeding we reduce the chance that the youngsters are contaminated very early in life.

The same applies of course in the rearing. Youngsters need to build up their defenses through "teething problems". But important is that are well enough equipped. Their resistance has to be high enough.

Starting with medication in the rearing is certainly no guarantee that we will get pigeons that perform well.


Preventive action

It is therefore of utmost importance to act preservative so that the pigeons have a better resistance and therefore less need for medication. The need to have to cure during the playing season is often the end of the performance.

In recent years we have studied increasing the resistance. Our resistance drink and the Bony-SGR has been proven to contribute to a better resistance.

It appears that the regular use of our resistance drink breeders are in better shape. They grow better, are more powerful and are less sensitive to the teething. The resistance drink helps by its acidifying action and also provides protection against the Adenocoli complex. Like the Ornithosis complex a disorder whose severity of symptoms depends on several factors.

Our advice during breeding and rearing is the regular use of natural resistance enhancers for the youngsters. To provide them in a natural way with more defense against pathogens.

Occasional use of natural resistance enhancers is not sufficient. These resources should be used frequently enough, if you want it to be effective, but the results are worth it.

A warning is also in place. By using the resistance drink it is possible that they grow up too early in shape. Here one has to pay attention. It is therefore advisable to use the resistance drink after spawning no more than three days a week.

As the racing season gets closer, one can use the drink increased to five days a week.

Resistance drink should not be combined with drugs in the drinking water.

If drugs should be used supply them on the food.


In case of clinical outbreaks of ornithosis a range of drugs available. Individual birds can be treated with Ornithosis capsules. One capsule per pigeon per day.

All this depends on the seriousness of the disorder.

Powder 18 and Sa mix are also effective against cancer and hexamitiasis. In more chronic infections powder 26 (Myco-Orni-mix), powder 31 (SES-V) and Orni-P qualify.

In case of severe infections, it is wise to keep the birds one week at home during the flight to prevent heavy losses.