Ask The Vet: theme questions (vaccination against paramyxo & other diseases)

Every four weeks on a Saturday, we will select some very interesting questions and answers concerning a certain topic (disease, medicin, etc.) and publish them on our homepage. Today's topic is the annual vaccination for paramyxovirus and other diseases.

Can you give me some info on what vaccines you recommend me to use before breeding, also for the youngsters & when you recommend to give them.

Never vaccinate ill pigeons, this will cause a pigeon to become even more ill, and the pigeon won’t get enough power to build up a strong immunity against the disease you have vaccinated, this means that the vaccine won’t work properly. Never vaccinate during an important period, such as the racing period, the breeding period, the moulting period. Make sure you have an interval of minimum 1 month between the date of vaccination and the start of that period, so you won’t have any negative influence due to the vaccination. Never vaccinate with medication that has not been stored under the right circumstances or that is expired.
I will make a small trip along the life of a pigeon.
At the age of 3 weeks, when the pigeon is weaned, it is already possible to vaccinate the youngsters against paramyxovirosis. This has the advantage that it is a very easy job, because they don’t fly at that moment. Another more important advantage is that you have not that high risk that the youngsters have already been in contact with the circo-virus. This virus will attack the immunity system of the pigeon, so the pigeon can become ill, but when you have vaccinated them at a time that they were infected with the circo-virus, they won’t make such a good protection against that disease.
In England they saw a few years ago that the immunity against pmv didn’t last 1 year anymore after the vaccination against pmv, but when they did some more research, they found out that the pigeons had been infected with the circo-virus at the time of vaccination. They also saw that vaccinated pigeons against pmv at an age of 3 weeks, will have lesser problems with adeno-virus. But be careful: Lesser will not mean no problems at all!!! A disadvantage of vaccinating the pigeons at an age of 3 weeks, is that you can’t do it together with the pox or paratyphus, because for this they have to be minimum 6 weeks old.
At the age of 6 weeks you can vaccinate them against the pox or paratyphus. I would suggest to do first the pox, because the pox vaccination, no matter which vaccine you use, can give some problems with the homing ability of the pigeons, certainly on day 7 & 8 after the vaccination. Therefore it is better not to let them fly during that period, so they won’t get lost. If you vaccinate against the pox at an age of 6 weeks, they don’t fly very much outside, and you don’t have to interrupt the learning procedure. Don’t vaccinate at the same time against the pox and paratyphus, because the pox vaccination can cause a backsliding of the pigeons immunity, which can give some problems for the pigeons to make a good immunity against paratyphus. Pmv together with the pox is no problem at all.
I should suggest to vaccinate the youngsters against paratyphus at an age of 10 weeks, and when needed, following the prescription of the manufacturer, once again at an age of 13 weeks. As yearling and old pigeon, I would vaccinate them against pmv just after weaning the youngsters (you can do the youngsters and old pigeons at the same time, if they don’t breed after that), or when they are on eggs (at that moment the fertilization is already finished). Although most fanciers don’t vaccinate older pigeons against the pox if they were vaccinated as youngsters, I would suggest you still do it, just like the manufacturers mention!!
Vaccinating against paratyphus can be done 1 month before the breeding period, after moulting, and/or 1 month before the racing season begins. But think always to treat the pigeons before you will vaccinate them against paratyphus, in order to have not that much problems afterwards.
Always vaccinate all your pigeons, not only those you race with, but also the breeders and hens!
A small note of the combination pmv and paratyphus. You can vaccinate this at the same time, but not in the same syringe, because they saw that after vaccinating with the products in the same syringe, there is a good protection against the paratyphus, but not such good protection against the pmv. When you administer it in a different syringe, but at the same time, you won’t have such problems.
(Pascal Lanneau)

Do you think that it is a good idea to vaccinate my pigeons against paramyxo during a period when they are sitting on their eggs? Could it be a useful for youngsters? Or is it better to vaccinate them later? I usually vaccinate my pigeons in January before I put them together but this year I had no time because my business trip...Our racing season starts 23.4.2011 I paired my widowers today.

Normally it is no problem to vaccinate the birds for paramyxo whilst sitting on eggs.
(Ruben Lanckriet)

In my country there are no pigeon vaccinations available. However, I found pox and newcastle disease in my pigeons, how do I deal with these? There are many chicken vaccinations available.

The newcastle disease vaccinations for chickens can be used on pigeons with some results but I would advise vaccinating the birds twice a year. The La Sota vaccine for chickens in the drinking water has to be used 4 times a year (every 3 months). The pox virus is more difficult. If you don't have any pox vaccine for pigeons, you cannot take preventive measures for the disease. If there is an outbreak you can try to quarantine infected birds and try to control the mosquitos in the loft. Mosquitos are the most important infecting vector.
(Ruben Lanckriet)

Last week i vaccinated my stock birds with paramyxovirus vaccine. But after vaccination i found that one of my hens neck area is becoming one hard tumor types things, it's about 2 inches in size, but that thing is at skin area. Please help me. My pigeon is ok with food and dropping.

This side-effect can occur from different kinds of vaccinations, especially with oil adjuvans vaccines. It's important to vaccinate these vaccines at room temperature (and not cold). Some birds (and even some strains of birds) seem to be more sensitive for this side-effect. When the lump gets really big, it can be removed surgically, but in a lot of cases the lump in time just diminishes in size and grows out. If it's a stock bird there are normally no problems for breeding. For racing it can be a handicap, so it is important to vaccinate racing pigeons early enough.
(Ruben Lanckriet)

Why shouldn't you give the paramyxovaccination and paratyphusvaccination at the same time?

It is not advisable because when it is both injected in the neck there is a much greater possibility to have ulcerations in the neck. This also depends on the kind of vaccines. There have been some better results with one vaccine in the neck and one in the leg, but this is not the most advised place to inject the bird.
(Ruben Lanckriet)

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