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Paratyphoid — Salmonellosis
Cause - This very common and quite widespread disease is caused by a gram-negative bacterium which is flagellated, therefore mobile. It can be brought into a loft either through introduction of infected pigeons, by rodents, through inhalation of infected dust, on the soles of fanciers' shoes, by roaches, or through contact with wild pigeons. Often an adult bird that has overcome the disease remains a carrier and continues to produce infected droppings.
Symptoms - Salmonella flagellates can be found throughout the body in severely infected birds. Thus, a variety of symptoms is possible. Most adult birds will show rapid weight loss, along with somewhat loose, greenish droppings. Some birds may develop swelling in the leg joints or feet, or may develop wing boils. Other birds may have the "twisted neck" syndrome commonly associated with PMV. Baby birds will often show labored breathing or die in the nest before the second week after hatching. Another symptom is young dying in the egg.
Prevention - Loft hygiene is critical, because salmonella flagellates can live in the droppings for some time. Regular cleaning and disinfecting of lofts, feeders and drinkers is imperative. Minimizing contact with rodents, roaches, and wild birds, quarantining newly acquired birds, and maintaining an acid pH level below 4.0 in our lofts are all helpful steps in keeping this disease under control. Several veterinarians have recommended the use of Nolvasan disinfectant at one teaspoon per gallon of drinking water regularly to help maintain an acidic environment in the droppings. Regular use of the salmonella vaccine has proven to be especially effective.