Salmonella Paratyphoid in Pigeons by Racing Pigeon Laboratory Testing

Paratyphoid never underestimates the damage it can do to Racing Pigeons 

Vaccinate with Salgen Salmonella Vaccine to prevent 

Vaccinations are preventions 

SALGEN Salmonella / Paratyphoid 50 dose vaccine is the best affective vaccine available

  • The Salgen vaccine will build your birds antibodies against the disease
  • Vaccinate now and your breeders will pass antibodies through the embryo to the chick
  • Fantastic Success since 2016 with thousands of vaccines used to date 
  • October is the crucial time to vaccinate against the dreaded Salmonella / Paratyphoid which is the NUMBER 1 cause in disease and sickness for racing pigeons

If you have encountered this dreaded disease before, please contact us as we can offer prescription medication to treat. This can be used prior to vaccination.

Salmonella Vaccine

Active immunization against salmonella serotypes group B and D to reduce faecal shedding of S. typhimurium and colonization of internal organs with the bacterium

Salmonella is the causative/pathogen agent and paratyphoid are the outcome.

1. Diarrhea is seen in pigeons of all ages. The intestinal type of infection usually produces a loose watery, green, voluminous and bed smelling dropping. It is important to distinguish it from the paramyxo dropping which is a watery splash with little solid feces in the middle (looking like a worm in a splash of water). The droppings from paramyxo do not have any white (urates) from the kidney as paramyxo affects the kidney. In the salmonella droppings the urates (white matter) are usually visible, often greenish – yellow. The bird becomes light weight and wastes away.

2. Torticollis (the cerebral type of infection) occurs when a Salmonella abscess forms in the brain. The balance of the bird is affected, and it will turn its head just like in the nervous symptoms of paramyxo. This movement is exceedingly difficult to distinguish from paramyxo. However, this kind of infection is rare, and appears when the infection gets to the brain or when the internal ear is affected.

3. Infectious arthritis is seen as a swelling in the shoulder joint of an affected wing or as lameness caused by an infected joint in the foot or leg. The “ankle” joint is a favourite location. Pigeons with an infected wing joint droop the wing and tremble from the pain. The wing can even touch the floor hanging. The articular infection type is the most common type in a chronic Salmonella disease.

4. Subcutaneous abscesses occur all over the body but usually below the eye as a small swelling containing hard, yellow, and dry pus. Often that will be the only sign.

5. Infertility (partial or total) in hens and cocks can often be accompanied by chronic death / wasting away.

6. Acute deaths can occur at any age. Young pigeons on the nest can die but even adult birds looking healthy can die suddenly.

7. Chronic death usually follows an extended period of poor eating, listlessness losing weight and wasting away.

The carrier state may be present in unexpected birds. In the carrier state, no symptoms are observable. This is the “hidden” LATENT type of infection and is usually found in adults that are healthy. There’s no desire to fly, they might have reproduction problems and the chicks in the nest get sick and might die. These pigeons are vectors that can infect the other birds any time.


The diagnosis for the carrier state can be made from a droppings culture collected over 5-6 days. While the droppings are being collected you should keep them refrigerated. Dead and clinically sick pigeons can be sacrificed and examined with a bacterial culture done on all the organs. A culture from the joint fluid in bird with a drooped wing will usually confirm a diagnosis of Salmonella. Dead youngsters on the nest and “black eggs” can also be cultured.

How to Prevent Salmonella Infections:

Proper hygiene is the best way to keep Salmonella away from the loft. Don’t overcrowd! The disease has a greater chance of spreading in overcrowded conditions and stale air environments. Overcrowding also lowers immunity by stressing the birds. The chance of becoming infected depends a lot on the number of bacteria taken in by the pigeon. If a pigeon swallows just a few of the bacteria, it will not become infected. Therefore, cleaning the loft can lower the spread of the disease. Taking in large numbers of bacteria can overload the bird’s immune system, the germs will proliferate, and the disease becomes active. Then the bird will also spread the bacteria through its droppings.

Lowering the pH of the drinking water with apple cider vinegar can control the disease. The use of probiotics is also recommended. Lowering the pH of the intestinal content inhibits the growth of Salmonella, E coli and other pathogenic organisms. I tested my tap water and for a PH of 7 with a GH of 0, 5 ml of vinegar for two liters of water drop the PH from 7 to 4. Most fanciers recommend 5 ml/liter, but you might need to adjust to suit your needs for the local water.


The problem is that there is no antibiotic that is 100% effective. Treatment of salmonella infections should be based on laboratory tests so that the appropriate antibiotic can be administered. You collect some droppings samples from the birds for several days and send them to a laboratory where, after a bacteriologic culture and an antibiogram, the right antibiotic will be prescribed. Make sure the pigeons didn’t receive antibiotics before the test for several weeks…or the test might be useless.

Treating the birds only for 4-5 days is pointless and stupid. Such a short cure will not cure Salmonella. It might just lower the symptoms and eventually put the bird in a carrier state (which is worse!).

Enrofloxacin / Baytril is usually prescribed for treating Salmonella, but only the lab test will confirm what exactly you need for your pigeons. A treatment with thrimetoprim (1 gr / 4 liters of water) takes a long time… if the weather is cold, the treatment should last 2 weeks, because the birds drink less water. DO NOT forget to give probiotics to the pigeons after the treatment because the antibiotics destroy ALL the bacteria in the intestines including beneficial bacteria. I’m amazed to see that often probiotics are forgotten, although they are extremely important in the fight against salmonella and for the well-being of the bird.

Vaccines must be used to prevent the disease. Before you vaccinate against Salmonella you must be sure that there is no Salmonella infection in the loft, and this can be checked only by a lab test. If you vaccinate pigeons that already have Salmonella, you may have a vaccination reaction. Should I use vaccines for Salmonella / Paratyphoid? Yes, it is particularly important to vaccinate against this deadly disease as it will cause big health issues with your pigeons 

Salgen is the best Salmonella / Paratyphoid vaccine as Salmonella/ Paratyphoid disease causes so much sickness in pigeons from secondary related infections that it is regarded as ENEMY NUMBER 1 in the sport of Racing Pigeons. Salmonella is a highly contagious disease and can spread easily throughout the loft. To prevent this deadly disease and to develop loft herd immunity, all old birds must be vaccinated using a salmonella vaccine yearly as well as young birds. A booster vaccine is highly recommended. Diagnostic Studies show since the Salgen Salmonella vaccine has been introduced to racing pigeons in 2016, it has no doubt been an extremely effective Salmonella vaccine in the control of Salmonella in racing pigeons, with 80% of tests results showing excellent antibody levels in preventing the Salmonella disease taking hold


Well, here we are again, in the middle of breeding season. The usual problems associated with breeding are surfacing in numbers; the most prevalent being paratyphoid, with an occasional "mimicker". Paratyphoid, or salmonella infection, tends to stay hidden until the birds are stressed; and reproduction is the usual stress which triggers the clinical infections. There are other bacteria which can mimic salmonellosis, other Gram-negative bacteria, but they make birds sick much less frequently than does salmonella. Some of the symptoms that might be seen include sore joints, swollen joints including wing boils, weight loss, mucoid (sticky) feces, youngsters dying in the nest, young dying in the shell, eggs beginning development then dying early and turning black, "going light", and sudden death.

Less commonly, we can see head tilting or twisted necks due to brain abscesses, loss of color in one or both irises, and blindness. Often the cases remain isolated or limited to very few individuals, but it can progress to epidemics of varying severity. Devastating epidemics are uncommon but have been seen; more typically only a few birds are involved. Treatment consists of the use of certain antibiotics, preferably one to which the strain of bacteria has been shown to be susceptible to. When "shooting from the hip", use antibiotics which have a high degree of success such as Baytril, Saraflox, Cephalexin, and Amoxicillin.

When the birds are not producing eggs or feeding young, I like to use Baytril. If you must treat while they are in reproduction, my drug of choice is Amoxicillin. Treat for 10 days. Treatment success can be improved when the birds are vaccinated with Sal Bac while on the antibiotic. Caution: don't vaccinate when the birds are setting eggs or feeding young as they will neglect their duties because of feeling so badly from the vaccine. Yes, birds can be cured of paratyphoid, but one is never sure if this is the case after treatment. Removal of infected birds has merit in controlling this disease, but if the bird(s) is valuable it is worth trying to salvage it with antibiotic therapy. Some will remain as carriers but there are lots of carriers out there anyhow, so overreacting is not necessary


Page 1 of 7 Paratyphoid Revisited by Dr Wim Peters South Africa Paratyphoid is the most dangerous disease that pigeons are liable to contract. It has been around for decades – centuries probably – and yet we, the fanciers and the medical support teams backing the sport, have failed to deal with this threat to our birds. Paratyphoid in pigeons is caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhimurium var. Copenhagen with antigenic structure 0;1;4;12; H;i;1;2. Phage typing reveal types 2 and 690 in more than 90% of cases. Many fallacies abound concerning its existence, mode of spread, treatment, and prevention.

Let us look at some of them. There is a general belief amongst fanciers that rodents, rats particularly, are the main source of infection for pigeons. So strong is this belief that if a fancier admits to having rats on his premises, all sick birds are quickly said to be paratyphoid victims, infected by bacteria brought in by the rats. It is rumoured that the rodents drink the pigeons’ water and that their habit of dragging their tails through the drinking bowl, spreads the germs, causing infection. Were they to do so one could easily believe that they are the main culprits but contrary to widely held belief, they are NOT the cause of pigeons getting typical pigeon paratyphoid? Do not misunderstand me, I am not saying that rats do not disseminate disease organisms. They certainly do. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), Murine typhus, Rat bite fever, Typhoid fever, Salmonella enteretica var typhimurium, Leptospirosis and Eosinophilic meningitis are just some of the diseases transmitted to man. So, they do transmit Salmonellas - and that’s where the belief originates - but so do other animals. Pigs, bovines, chickens – in fact, all animals can serve as Salmonella hosts for man. But in 99% of cases pigeon paratyphoid comes from other pigeons. And it is because the disease can exist in pigeons without causing BREVDUESPORT.DK

Page 2 of 7 any symptoms – in a carrier state – that it can remain in a loft undetected and is allowed the opportunity to transmit is germs to the loft mates. It is normal practice that no-one will allow a sick pigeon into his loft. This makes enough sense, so much so that all fanciers follow the rule. But carriers? A study by Baaij in Holland, where he tested the droppings in race baskets after races, found that 28.4% of the 1018 tests made on droppings, were positive for Salmonella typhimurium bacteria. And tests done at the end of the racing season revealed that 73% of the race baskets were infected. If one considers that no one in his right mind is going to send an ailing pigeon to a race, one can conclude that all these positive droppings were made by healthy-looking pigeons carrying the bacteria. Which indicates firstly, the difficulty in recognizing the pigeons that are carriers and secondly, the extremely high incidence of the disease amongst pigeons. As a result of which the disease can so easily be introduced into a loft by new pigeons, bought at a sale or elsewhere. So, fanciers, be very carefully 

 A Salmonella carrier could quite happily sit out his 4 weeks there and continue spreading germs when he is released.) The big danger that carrier pigeons pose is that

1. they are not recognizable and

2. they do not cause disease immediately. There are several reasons for this. The Salmonella bacteria which they excrete are not passed out all the time but intermittently only. This has the effect that detection becomes more difficult and one can only test dropping samples that were collected over a period of about 5 days to be sure that the infection is detected. It also slows the onset of spread to the loft mates. Not all birds will become ill immediately. Depending on the health and resistance of the pigeons and the hygienic conditions in the loft, the spread of the disease may go unnoticed for a long time. It is important to understand that the chance of becoming infected, depends as much on the number of bacteria taken in as anything else. If a susceptible pigeon should swallow only a few of these bacteria it is possible that it will not become infected. (Loft cleanliness will therefore help to curb spread of the disease). 

Page 3 of 7 swamp the bird’s immune system, the germs will proliferate, cause disease and the pigeon could either become ill or become another carrier. In any event it will then also become a shedder of bacteria in its droppings. This process may take many months – years even - with the resulting difficulty that the disease outbreak is not readily coupled to the introduction of the new pigeon. A fallacy which is often expressed by pigeon fanciers is that their pigeons ‘have a bit of paratyphoid but that they gave the birds XYZ antibiotic, and everything is fine now’. There are two problems with this statement.

1. There is no such thing as a ‘bit of paratyphoid’. The pigeons either have it or they do not. There are no half-measures. The disease is so serious that if it is present (and confirmed), the fancier should – out of care for his fellow fanciers – cease racing. Because that bird will infect the racing basket and be a source of infection that week and all other weeks unless the basket is disinfected thoroughly. (And we know that fanciers are very lax when it comes to disinfecting the baskets!). The previous statement –i.e. the claim that they had paratyphoid but cleared it up, is usually made if the fancier’s birds had loose green droppings and he initiated a broad-spectrum antibiotic to which the causative bacteria (it would have been.E. coli) was susceptible.

2. The second problem is that the fancier used an antibiotic – for about 4 or 5 days – and claimed to have cured the problem. If his problem had been Salmonella, it would have, after just one treatment, been far from over. One just cannot cure paratyphoid in such a brief time. At best, the symptoms would have been reduced and a carrier state could have been created. Which is just as bad, even worse. We’ll come back to this later but let me state here; there is no antibiotic that is 100% effective in clearing up a paratyphoid outbreak. I am extremely hesitant to pen down the symptoms of a paratyphoid infection. Most fanciers are aware of some of them. Many claim to be able to make the diagnosis from the appearance of the droppings from sick birds. Closer to the truth is maybe that any set of symptoms that are unconfirmed, could have been caused by paratyphoid. The symptoms depend entirely upon which organs are affected and any organ or life system in the body can become diseased. If you can think it, it could be paratyphoid. Such is the nature of the disease; it is serious, widespread and occurs in many guises. BREVDUESPORT.DK

Page 4 of 7 The disease might be hyperacute, where the birds are sick one day and dead the next, acute, where they linger on for three days before dying, or chronic, where a gradual wasting away occurs. When a carrier condition is present there could even no symptoms at all. A further complication of the disease is that it can affect the fertility of either cock or hen. The cock will usually become infertile if both testes are affected but some birds could become sub fertile. When the hen is infected, one commonly finds a gradual wasting away and any eggs that are laid can transmit the infection. This state usually proceeds to sterility. Any eggs that are laid can give rise to infected young which in turn could be carriers. Alternatively, the babies may die when a few days old, they may die in-shell, or the eggs fail to hatch with the embryo dying after 10 days or so of hatching. The well-known ‘black eggs’ are then formed. It is well to remember that the circovirus lowers the body’s resistance to disease in general, paratyphoid included. So should circovirus be present, one could expect to encounter paratyphoid cases. In such case the presence of Salmonellas will increase the pathogenicity of circovirus. In these events it is a wise procedure to culture the samples from a circovirus outbreak to ascertain the presence or absence of paratyphoid, in order that the necessary remedial steps can be taken. The most common presentations of the disease are severe diarrhoea, torticollis, infectious arthritis, subcutaneous abscesses, chronic wasting away with or without infertility, acute or chronic death or the carrier state, where no symptoms would be observable. More than one of these complexes can occur together in one pigeon. But please do not think that because a bird does not show one of these symptoms that it cannot be paratyphoid. Anything (symptomize) is possible. 1. Diarrhoea is seen in pigeons of all ages. It is typically a loose, green, voluminous, and fetid dropping. It is important to distinguish it from the typical paramyxo dropping which appears as a watery splash with a ‘worm’ of feces in the middle. The droppings from paramyxo do not have any white urates from the kidney as the disease is a kidney disease. In the paratyphoid dropping the urates are usually visible, often stained greenish – yellow. BREVDUESPORT.DK

Page 5 of 7 2. Torticollis occurs when a Salmonella abscess forms in the brain. The balance of the bird is affected and a typical ‘stargazer’ results. Stargazers are exceedingly difficult to distinguish from paramyxo patients as this disease can cause a similar picture. 3. Infectious arthritis is seen either as a wing swelling in the shoulder joint of an affected pigeon with wing drooping or as lameness due to an infected joint somewhere in the foot or leg. The ‘ankle’ joint is a favourite location. Acutely infected pigeons with drooping wings will sit and tremble from the pain in their shoulder joint. 4. Subcutaneous abscesses can occur over the whole body but are most often found just below the eye as a pea-sized swelling containing hard, yellow, and dry pus. Very often that will be the only sign in that pigeon that something is amiss. 5. Acute deaths can occur at any age. Babies in the nest a few days old may succumb but even adult birds, healthy, may die acutely. Acute deaths can occur from various causes, but it is important that the cause of death be established. Chronic death usually follows a protracted period of poor eating and listlessness. 6. Infertility in both hens and cocks can often be caused by paratyphoid and is usually – not always – accompanied by wasting away. 7. The carrier state may be present in unexpected birds. Do not assume that because a pigeon originates from such and such fantastic flyer that paratyphoid cannot be present. It can. The disease has the habit of striking in the most unexpected places! Diagnosis. In a carrier the diagnosis can be made from a culture done on the accumulated droppings collected over 5 or 6 days. While the droppings are being collected it is advisable to keep the sample refrigerated. Dead and clinically sick pigeons that can be sacrificed, are best examined at postmortem, followed by a bacterial culture done on all the organs of the carcass. A culture from the joint fluid in birds with a ‘wing boil’ will usually confirm a diagnosis of paratyphoid. Dead babies in the nest and ‘black eggs’ are also best autopsied, and the organs cultured. In poultry, a serum test that relies on antibody/antigen reaction, is commonly used to test for salmonellosis. The same test would work for pigeons but all BREVDUESPORT.DK

Page 6 of 7 birds that have previously been vaccinated would react as if, they were positive. The test would therefore only be useful to detect unvaccinated carriers. Treatment and Prevention The treatment of paratyphoid is fraught with problems. As said before there is no antibiotic that is 100% effective. Now Baytril (active ingredient enrofloxacin) is the best drug available and is said to destroy the carrier status. Many other antibiotics have been and are used but the possibility of creating carriers must always be borne in mind. The use of a vaccine following antibiotic therapy is highly recommended. Lowering the pH of the drinking water `with apple cider vinegar is a particularly good method of controlling the disease. The use of probiotics to support this regime is also highly recommended. Lowering the pH of the intestinal content inhibits the growth and colonization of the bowel by Salmonella, E coli and other pathogenic organisms. It is a practice which should be followed routinely in all lofts. When faced with an outbreak of paratyphoid I would recommend that this approach is used on a continuing basis. It can be given in addition to other medications or by-products. The protocol for treating paratyphoid in a loft should follow these lines; 1. Immediately instigate treatment with Baytril for 10 days.

The 10-day treatment is necessary to eliminate carriers. The usual dosage rate is 1mL/litre but up to 3 mLs/litre may be necessary, particularly in cold weather. (In North America, the 10% solution of Baytril is used at the rate of 1to 1 and1/2 teaspoons - 5 to 7 cc - for 10 days. GAC) two. Following the Baytril treatment ALL birds should be vaccinated with an effective paratyphoid vaccine, strictly following the manufacturer’s recommendations. 3. Begin bowel acidification (lowering the pH) with Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), lemon juice or a similar substance and give a good probiotic product over the feed. Ordinary grape vinegar will perform bowel acidification quite adequately. Besides the ravaging effect that paratyphoid has on breeders and young birds, the disease has an erosion effect on racers with the result that they perform below their genetic potential. Many such birds would therefore be BREVDUESPORT.DK

Page 7 of 7 culled not because they’re not good enough but because their health, though appearing to be up to standard, is below par. A final warning to all fanciers; Do not ever underestimate Paratyphoid


Baytril injection for Racing Pigeons is an antibiotic for bacterial infections. Enrofloxacin is a synthetic, broad spectrum antimicrobial substance, belonging to the fluoroquinolone group of antibiotics. It is bactericidal in action and effective against many grams positive and gram-negative bacteria and mycoplasmas.  The product is indicated in the treatment of bacterial infections of the alimentary, respiratory, and urogenital tracts, skin, secondary wound infections and Otitis externa where clinical experience, supported where possible by sensitivity testing of the causal organism, indicates enrofloxacin as the drug of choice. Diseases of the respiratory and alimentary tract of bacterial or mycoplasma origin (e.g. pasteurellosis, mycoplasmas, coli-bacillosis, coli-septicaemia and salmonellosis) and secondary bacterial infections subsequent to viral conditions (e.g. viral pneumonia) where clinical experience, supported where possible by sensitivity testing of the casual organism, indicates enrofloxacin as the drug of choice. Diseases of the respiratory and alimentary tract of bacterial or mycoplasma origin (e.g. pasteurellosis, actinobacillosis, mycoplasmas, coli-bacillosis, coli-septicaemia and salmonellosis) and mulifactorial diseases such as atrophic rhinitis and enzootic pneumonia, where clinical experience, supported where possible by sensitivity testing of the casual organism, indicates enrofloxacin as the drug of choice