Herpes Virus Alert!

Posted by Dave Page on


Herpes Virus alert:

It has been reported to Meditech that some pigeon fanciers are suspecting that the Herpes Virus is affecting their pigeons.

We would summarise below the symptoms to look out for & how to prevent this deadly virus.

Background information

Most pigeons carry antibodies to the herpes virus which means that these pigeons have had contact or challenge from this virus or to be still carrying the virus, but showing no signs of disease because they have produced a satisfactory immune response. The disease state comes about when the immune system is compromised most likely through stress factors e.g overcrowding, other diseases taking hold, change of husbandry routine, racing especially long & hard.


The symptoms of herpes will most likely to be confused with canker i.e grey/creamy sticky mucus in the throat of young birds resembles canker.  It is going to be a problem that both diseases co-exist.  The main difference between the canker & the herpes virus disease is that in the herpes infection, the virus causes ulceration & mild inflammation of the mouth this results in a nasty smell to the breath, the bird will have a painful throat & avoids eating.

Herpes could also be mistaken for ornithosis.

Therefore if treatment with a canker & antibiotic treatment has not been successful then herpes should be suspected since herpes is a virus & will not respond to canker, cocci or antibiotic treatment.

Disease prevention

There is no licensed vaccine available at present therefore we must reduce the challenge by good hygiene i.e by changing the water frequently, keeping the loft floor clean and to keep the drinking water clean (you can use Virkon -S) at quarter of a teaspoon to a gallon of drinking water.

Very important to prevent secondary infections e.g canker, cocci.

(we recommend the Meditech 4 in 1 to be used every 3 to 4 months to reduce the stress on the pigeons)

Pigeons that survive will have strong immunity to the disease & live with this virus.

Written by Mr S.D Samrai

Meditech UK


0121 505 6370

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