20 September 2011

Pigeon fanciers asked to watch out for Avian Paramyxovirus

| johnboy
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Territory and Municipal Services is calling on pigeon owners to keep their eye out for symptom of a new strain of disease that’s broken out in Victoria.

A strain of Avian Paramyxovirus not previously reported in Australia has been detected in a number of hobby pigeon flocks in Victoria.

The Department of Primary Industries is undertaking investigations to determine the spread of disease and to detect other affected properties.

Key clinical signs include:

— lethargy;
— gastrointestinal signs such as diarrhoea;
— neurological signs including head shaking; and
— death.

If you have noticed any of these signs in your birds please contact your private veterinarian or the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

The main tools currently available to reduce the risk of spread to other lofts are good biosecurity and minimising contact with other flocks or birds. Until the situation in Victoria is clarified avoid trading, racing and showing. Introductions of new pigeons to existing lofts should be avoided if possible.
Protect your flock by:

— not taking birds to shows, fairs or race meets;
— not trading or introducing new birds;
— isolating and closely monitoring introduced birds or birds that have been to races or shows for 14 days (feed and water these isolated birds last and wash and change afterwards);
— disinfecting equipment used to house, transport feed or water birds from outside your flock or birds that have travelled to shows;
— removing stray birds from your loft;
— avoiding visitors to your loft; and
— disinfecting boots and washing hands and clothes if you visit other lofts.

Several vaccines are registered to protect poultry against Avian Paramyxovirus and your veterinarian may prescribe a vaccine to protect your pigeons. It is not known how effective these vaccines will be against the strain of virus currently causing disease in Australian pigeons.

Human outbreak is described as “rare” and only occuring in cases of direct contact with the birds.

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