Ornithostrongylus quadriradiatus:

These delicate, pink-colored worms are vicious bloodsuckers, which occur in the proventriculus and small intestine of pigeons in Europe, North America, Africa and Australia. The worms measure approximately 1-2.5 cm. in length. Eggs passed out in the droppings hatch within approximately two days; then becoming infective to another or the same host.

The worms can cause serious trouble in pigeons when infestations are heavy, producing high mortality, especially in squabs. Illness or death are accompanied by mucoid enteritis and anemia as the result of severe hemorrhages in the intestinal tract. The clinical signs of the disease include depression, weakness, loss of appetite, regurgitation of bile-colored fluid, loss of weight and green, slimy diarrhea containing flakes of mucous membrane. Breathing becomes rapid due to the anemia.

Treatment and control:
As with other roundworms, treatment resolves around three factors, namely, cleanliness, good nutrition and removal of the parasites at a vulnerable stage of their life cycle, thus preventing opportunities for fresh infestation. Methyridine either by subcutaneous injection or in the drinking water has been recommended. Thiabendazole and phenothiazine have also been suggested, but there is little information available concerning their efficiency.


E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca



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