Is all this really necessary?



Is it really necessary to give our pigeons all these preventive medicines (especially antibiotics) at the beginning of every racing season?

By this I mean, do you have to give them a treatment for say, canker if they don’t show any signs of the disease. Many of the programs that are available describe in detail what to give for every disease to prevent the disease in your pigeons.

Is this correct? Isn’t it wrong to give our birds medicine for a disease they don’t have?
Every year before the racing season starts, fanciers buy a lot of medicine to give their birds before the races start. This is to prevent them from getting sick. Is this really necessary?


You have posed an extremely relevant question. It is unfortunately not an easy question to answer. I personally believe that pigeon fanciers use to many medicines in their pigeons. It seems that with every new medicine that becomes available in our country (South Africa), the fanciers invariably clamor to obtain some of these medicines. If these medicines are smuggled into our country, and have to be obtained via dubious means, the attraction becomes all the more inviting.

Many of these smuggled products have not been proven scientifically, but have the name of some overseas master to endorse them. That there is a definite place for medicines in our pigeon sport is undoubtedly so. The sport in pigeon racing has become so competitive that it is imperative to use some medicines.

The pigeon fancier in South Africa also has the disadvantage that there are very few vets that specialize in pigeons. In Europe it is easy for a pigeon fancier to have his pigeons checked by a vet to see if the use of a particular medicine is really necessary. This means that these fanciers can use much less medicines than our fanciers do.
If you are in a position to have your pigeons analysed regularly by a vet, you need only treat for the following if the tests are positive:
Trichomonas (cropcanker), coccidiosis, roundworm, hairworm and malaria.
Tapeworm is a very difficult worm to diagnose in pigeons, except if the pigeons are heavily infested (when a small white segments are seen in the stool). Pigeons tend to pick up this worm from intermediate hosts such as ants, snails and even food mites. Tapeworm has a definite effect on the racing performance, so I advise that you treat your pigeons at least every eight (8) weeks against tapeworm. A tablet that kills all worms (roundworm, hairworm and tapeworm) called Mediworm. This tablet contains Praziquantel, the safest and most effective treatment against tapeworm.

The slime-in-the-throat syndrome (Mycoplasma) is so prevalent in our country, and has such devastating effect on the racing performance, that most fanciers find it necessary to treat every four (4) weeks in the racing season. Bear in mind that prominent scientists in Europe proved that it is impossible to eradicate Mycoplasmosis from pigeons with any medicine available at this time. This is thus a true carrier disease. It is however, also a fact that some strains of pigeons have an inherently better immunity against this dreaded disease syndrome. If the fancier finds that his results are good without the routine treatment against Mycoplasmosis, I would strongly urge that the use of antibiotics against Mycoplasmosis, be discouraged in these lofts.

Ornithosis (Chlamydia) should be treated preventatively before the racing season with the products containing Doxycycline (Doxybiotic, Dovabiotic and Ornicure).

The treatment should be continued for at least ten (10) days, and should be repeated in the middle of the season.
I would discourage the routine use of strong antibiotics such as Baytril and Advocin. These products should be reserved for severe infections after cultures and antibiograms have been done. I would strongly advise that you consult a vet before using these script-only antibiotics.

As I’ve said, the sport of racing pigeons has become so competitive, that it is essential to find some sort of Vitamin boosting program that works well for you.

To summarize, some diseases need preventative treatment if you are to stay competitive, but use your vet regularly to do routine analysis and save yourself a lot of money on unnecessary medicines.

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