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Circovirus and the influence on vaccinations

Vaccinate your youngsters in time!!! For a few years circovirosis has been a new threat to our young pigeon population. Young pigeons, younger than 1 year are very vulnerable for infection, especially up to 4 months old.

Circovirus
Way of infection

For the moment the way of infection isn’t very clear, but the virus probably spreads through the droppings, perhaps also via food or water that is infected, or maybe through inhalation. Transmission via the egg is possible but not yet proven.

Symptoms
Once a pigeon is infected, the circo-virus will infect especially those organs that are very important for building up resistance (those are called the lymphoid organs, such as the thymus, the spleen, bone marrow, bursa Fabricius) Because these organs are infected, the pigeons are not capable of making a good, valuable resistance, even against the most common and ‘harmless’ infections, it is possible that they may fail to make any immunity.
Young pigeons in the nest that become infected will become thinner and perhaps die.
Symptoms as lethargy, no appetite, becoming thinner, diarrhea, respiratory problems, lower performances are very common with this disease.
Depending on the severity of the secondary infection, and also the age of the pigeon when it was infected with the virus the pigeon will be severly ill or not that ill at all (f.e. paratyphus gives much more troubles compared with trichomonas)
Sometimes you can see that the feathers dont grow like they should, but for the moment there is no evidence that this problem is caused through this virus.
There are also plenty of infections that are without any symptoms.

Diagnosis
Formerly it was only possible to diagnose this disease after an autopsy on a pigeon by means of a PCR test on internal organs such as the Bursa Fabricius, but now it is also possible to have a PCR test done on the droppings of the pigeons.

Treatment
At this moment it isn’t possible to cure or to attack the virus itself by means of any medication.
The treatment is especially focused on prevention. Preventing your pigeons to have contact with the virus, this means being hygienic, keeping the pigeons a while in quarantine is very important in this opinion. During flights, the last one is of course not possible.
Therefore it is necessary to be sure that your pigeons can build up their own strong immunity, and that they have an optimum health.
Last but not least, in times of infection with circo-virus, it is very important to treat the secondary infections, this can be trichomoniasis, coccidiosis, paratyphus, adenovirosis.
Vaccination is not available at this moment.
The Circo-virus is very stable in the environment, it can resist for 15 minutes a temperature of 75°C. This means that disinfecting a loft against circo is a very hard job to do.

All this is important for the paramyxo-vaccination.
Like I told you earlier in this article, the virus will especially attack all those organs that are very important for building up a good and strong immunity. If this immunity fails, pigeons can die due to this ‘banal- infection’!!
All this means that also infected pigeons cannot have that strong immunity after a vaccination!!!
Suppose you vaccinate your pigeons against paramyxovirosis, but on that moment your pigeons are already infected with the circo-virus. After this vaccination, the pigeons aren’t able to build up an immunity like they should be, because the organs that are responsible for this are infected and don’t work like they should do!! So, it is possible that a vaccination doesn’t work properly, not due to the vaccin ( Colombovac pmv ® or Nobivac paramyxo ®,  are very reliable vaccines) or the way of vaccination, but because there was an infection with circo at that moment.
To prevent all this it is much better to vaccinate your young birds as soon as possible, this means when the youngsters are 3 weeks old (so this is the time of weaning the birds)
In this way you prevent (so far as you can prevent it) that the pigeons are already infected with circo-virus before you vaccinate them.
During practice we learned that those pigeons which have been vaccinated very early (at 3 weeks), that they had apparently also a greater resistance against fe adenovirosis.
All this is of course is no certainty you wont have any problem’s with all the other diseases, but we all see a very positive effect on the immunity of the pigeons after they had been vaccinated when they were very young!!
Vaccinating before three weeks is of no use because the youngsters during that period receive maternal immunity from the parents ( through the egg and the cropmilk.)
Because you vaccinate at the age of 3 weeks, this means you cannot vaccinate at the same time with the pox (not with Colombovac pmv pox® or Ovoperisterin®,)
To build up much resistance against the pox it is necessary that the pigeons are at least 6 weeks.

Some very important tips to vaccinate against paramyxo
Vaccinate all your youngsters at an age of 3 weeks, pox later at 6 weeks.
Vaccinate only healthy pigeons!!
Vaccinate all your pigeons, the racing pigeons, but also the hens and the breeders, because - to be honest- which are the most important in every loft?