Mycotoxicosis is one of the most devastating diseases that any pigeon fancier can encounter on a day to day basis. Without the necessary preventive and corrective actions in place, a very promising racing season could end in total disaster.
Mycotoxicosis is the name given to the group of illnesses and disorders in humans and animals resulting from the toxic metabolites (mycotoxins) that are produced by certain fungi species like Aspergillus or Fusarium. In poultry, this usually results when toxin-producing fungi grow in grain and feed.
Aflatoxins are mycotoxins of Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus that grow on a variety of substrates such as rice, peanuts, sorghum, wheat, maize and lentils where the prevailing temperatures and humidity levels are high.
Major effects produced by Aflatoxins
- Liver damage;
- Kidney damage;
- Brain damage;
- Respiratory infection of air sacs and sinuses; and
- Immunos uppressant (with an increase in the susceptibility to Salmonellosis and Candidiasis).
How should the pigeon fancier protect himself/ herself?
- The fancier should source a good quality grain from a reputable supplier, free of weevil damage, water marks and should smell fresh and clean.
- The fancier should store the grain in a cool and dry storage area, and which is sufficiently protected from weevil infestation.
- The loft should be well ventilated. When the loft is cold and damp, the fungal spores can germinate on the droppings. Inhaled spores can cause disease amongst the pigeons. What this means is that the loft must be cleaned more frequently and the droppings removed before they go mouldy (i.e. before fungi grow and start to release spores).
- The straw in the transport baskets (personal baskets as well as those on the transport carrier) must be replaced at regular intervals to lower the risk of infestation by fungal spores.
How to reduce the effect of mycotoxicosis in your racing pigeons
The following are general recommendations to reduce the effects of mycotoxicosis in those racing pigeons that have contracted the disease:
- Increase the level of protein and energy in the diet of the pigeon. Cili Bao Body in Balance Powder contains high levels of both protein and energy and should be supplied twice daily to pigeons for at least 10 consecutive days.
- Increase the levels of Glutathione. Glutathione forms a conjugated complex with the mycotoxins inside the pigeon and especially inside the liver. These complexes are then eliminated through the faeces and urine of the bird. The Cili Bao Pure Fruit Elixir contains high levels of Glutathione and should be supplied twice daily to the pigeons for at least 10 consecutive days (moisten preferred pigeon food with the Cili Bao Pure Fruit Elixir, pour Cili Bao Body in Balance Powder over it and mix well).
- Use low levels of broad spectrum antibiotics with electrolytes in the drinking water. Mycotoxins are immunosuppressant and infected pigeons are more prone to secondary bacterial and yeast infections. Cili Bao Alpha Beta Microbes should be added to the drinking water for the duration of the treatment to suppress any opportunistic Salmonella or Candida infections.
- Maintain the pigeons at relative low temperatures.
- Reduce or eliminate factors that could produce stress in the pigeons such as sudden changes in temperature and moisture, vaccination, lack of water or inadequate ventilation.
- Reduce high levels of ammonia in the loft as fungi like Aspergillus are able to utilize ammonia as a nitrogen (food) source. Avoid using the deep litter system under those circumstances where high levels of ammonia could possibly be generated.