Preventative Medication Throughout The Year

The off season November, December, January:

1. Paramyxo

Vaccinate your youngsters against Paramyxo as soon as possible after weaning. This has become necessary because of the prevalence of Paramyxo in young birds at this time of the year. (Especially in the last few years.)

Registered vaccines that can be used are:

Talovac 105. Dead vaccine given by injection.

Nobivac Paramyxo. Dead vaccine given by injection.

Columbovac Paramyxo/Pox. Paramyxo fraction is dead, given by injection.

LaSota. Live vaccine, given as nose drops or in the drinking water. Controversial. Gives rapid immunity that does not last long and is not as good as immunity given by the dead vaccines that are injected. The advantage is that it does provide immunity to Newcastle disease as found in poultry.

2. Canker

In race birds this is still one of our biggest problems. Never underestimate!! Often a primary cause of respiratory problems or secondary to other more recognised causes of respiratory infections. The organism in some lofts has developed a resistance to the commonly used medications. With the emergence of all the "New" viral infections the response to treatment seems to be poorer. 52% Of birds tested last year had Canker – not the typical yellow cheesy growth (dry) form that is always shown in pictures in books, but the wet Canker, where a diagnosis can only be made from crop smears examined under a microscope.

Remedies used are:

Water soluble ones:

Ronidazole (Medizole, Turbosel). One teaspoon per 2 litres water. Safest and in many lofts effective. In lofts with a Canker problem it can be used for 2-3 days at the beginning of the week, every 1-3 weeks. In lofts without a resident Canker problem 1 day of treatment given to returning race birds prevents the introduction of a new resident strain. Ronidazole can be given for up to 7 days if necessary. (This can't be done in the race season, as allowance has to be made for basketing etc.)

Dimetronidazole (Chevicol, Emtryl etc.). Can be toxic when birds drink too much in hot weather. When using these products, count the number of birds in the loft, multiply by 50 = number of millilitres the birds will drink on that day. Medicate that amount of water. When it is finished replace with fresh non-medicated water. Chances of toxicity can be reduced in this way.


Gamba-metro. Added to the drinking water or 2ml + 8ml water injected directly into crop.

Metro-pharma. Used the same way as Gamba-metro. The preparations added to drinking water coat the lining of the crop, coming into direct contact with the Canker Parasite.

Tablet form:

Metronidazole (Meditrich or ½ 200mg Flagyl tablet or generic equivalent). Initial 100mg often needed to be followed by 100mg every 2nd day or 50mg (¼ Flagyl) every single day for a few days. After treatment have your birds tested, where possible to ensure that the treatment has worked. We have found many cases where the birds were still positive a day after treatment. Treat ± once a month in the off-season.

3. Pigeon Fly and Lice

Important time to dip is after the last race. Get rid of those parasites that were picked up in the baskets during the last part of the race season. This stops them from establishing themselves during the hot summer months.


Ambush. 1ml per litre water.

Bayopet Tick Rinse. 1ml per litre water.

Give birds a bath a day before dipping. This removes bloom and oils. The dip then penetrates better, especially if sunlight Liquid is added to the dip water. Hold bird in dip for ± 20 seconds.

February, March, April:

1. Pox Vaccination

Vaccines used are:


Columbovac Paramyxo/Pox.

Nobivac Pox.

Those birds that don't "take" should be revaccinated. If Paramyxo and Pox vaccination are given at the same time, there is a slight danger of the Pox vaccine growing at the point where Paramyxo vaccination was given. Pox vaccination must be done at 6 weeks before road training starts. Birds reacting to the Pox vaccination, if they fight in the baskets can get Pox lesions on eyelids, beak etc.

2. Paramyxo Vaccination

Vaccinate all birds (Stock, older race birds and yearlings). Stock birds are vaccinated annually so they can pass on their immunity to their youngsters. Yearlings would have been vaccinated September to December and again in April. Older race birds (2-3 year olds) would be vaccinated annually. In this way all the birds are given maximum possible protection against Paramyxo.

After, and/or during the hot summer months your insect borne problems must be attended to e.g. Malaria and Tapeworm.

3. Malaria (Haemoproteus). Carried by the Pigeon Fly. The best way to control is by dipping to destroy vector (carrier).

Medications used to control the parasite are:

Primaquin. 1ml per litre for 10 days, and then for one-day ± once a week throughout the race season.

Mirquin. 5ml per litre water. Used in the same way. Mirquin and Primaquin can be used alternately for once a day a week throughout the racing season.

If Malaria has been positively diagnosed during testing it is best to repeat treatment (for full 10 days) a month after initial treatment. Dip the birds at the time of treatment because any pigeon flies on them can re-infect them with Malaria.

4. Tapeworm. Carried by insects that are more prevalent in the summer months. Treat against Tapeworm after summer when the possibility of infection is most likely.

Medications used to control Tapeworm are:

Praziquantel, Mediworm, Cestocur (0,2ml per bird)

Droncit (1/8 tablet per bird)

Niclosamide Lintex L. ½ ml per bird, Dovalint.

In lofts where laboratory testing has not been done, Coccidiosis, Roundworm and Hairworm must be treated preventatively before the start of the season.

5. Coccidiosis. Eggs are found commonly during normal testing, but clinical Coccidiosis is seldom a problem because of the hot dry climate in most areas of South Africa.

Medications used to treat Coccidiosis are:

Amprol. (½ - 1 teaspoon per litre for 3-5 days).


ESB3. (1ml measure per litre water for 3-5 days).

Sulphamezathine 16%. (15ml per litre water for 3-5 days).

Embazin. (3,5ml per litre water for 3-5 days).

Avisol. (15ml per litre water for 3-5 days).

Baycox. (1ml per litre water).

6. Roundworm and Hairworm

Medications used are:


Levamisole -1) L-Sparakon

                      -2) Tramisol 2,5% (1ml directly into crop or 15-30ml per litre water for 2 days.

                      -3) Dovaworm

Predazine (Not effective against Hairworm).


Ivomec (10ml per litre water or 0,2ml per bird).

Many others.

On the day of deworming, clean the loft very well and burn all surfaces with a gas flame to kill the eggs, otherwise the birds will re-infect themselves. No drug given to the bird will kill the worm eggs. Flaming the loft also kills Coccidia eggs, bacteria and viruses, it also dries out the loft.

May – Month

By this time the following should have been done:

1. Paramyxo vaccination.

2. Pox vaccination.

3. Regular Canker treatment.

4. Tapeworm treatment.

5. Malaria treatment with dipping at the time of treatment.

6. If laboratory testing was not done, Coccidiosis, Roundworm and Hairworm.

During May many fanciers have their birds checked for:

1. Respiratory Infections

• Ornithosis

• Mycoplasma

• Bacteria etc.

2. Paratyphoid, E.Coli etc.

3. Toxins and signs of liver damage etc. Any problems found can be corrected before racing starts.

The Race Season:

June, July, August, September and October

In the off season no antibiotics are used but during the season it is often necessary to treat against Ornithosis, Mycoplasma, Ecoli etc, as they are placed under the stress of racing, this treatment will become more important later in the season.

1. Ornithosis. Often necessary to treat preventatively every 4-6 weeks with:

• Chlortetracycline

• Doxycycline (Doxybiotic)

• Dovabiotic

• Doxybird

• Ornicure and many others.

These products are given Sunday to Tuesday/Wednesday.

2. Mycoplasmas. Suppress every few weeks with:

Baytril. (½ to 2ml per litre).

Tylosin. (Tylan, Tylobiotic etc.)

Lincospectin. (1ml measure per litre water).

Longstim. (5gms per litre).

Trialpucine. (1ml measure per 2 litres water).

Fosbac. (1ml measure per litre water).

Suonovil. (1ml measure per litre).

Many others.

Also used Sunday to Tuesday/Wednesday.

3. Canker. During racing this becomes more of a problem. In many lofts it becomes necessary to treat every week. In other lofts every 2-3 weeks is sufficient. Because of the problems we have with Canker and its resistance to treatment it is better to treat it on a more regular basis so that the parasite level is always low. This is better than allowing infection to reach a high level and then trying to treat it. It is always easier to treat when levels are low.

At any time of the year and as often as you like the loft can be disinfected. Products used commonly are:



Dovine and many others.

Flaming the loft after disinfection will help dry out the loft quicker. Remember that disinfection can introduce unwanted moisture into the loft.

At the time of dipping birds against lice and flies the dip used can be sprayed inside the loft to help control insects.

By Dr. R.C. Conradie (B.V.Sc) Veterinary Surgeon.

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