|Symptoms of the disease:
Course of disease:
There are two forms of coccidiosis:
The asymptomatic (or subclinical) form occurs most frequently. After ingesting small quantities of oocysts for the first time, pigeons develop an immunity to infection due to stimulation of endogenous defence mechanisms, without visibly succumbing to the disease. With this protection, which is reinforced by constant ingestion of low levels of oocysts, the birds live in a kind of equilibrium with the parasites, which also protects them against severe intestinal disease.
The visible form of the disease with an acute course and severe generalised disturbance - true coccidiosis - occurs when still unprotected young pigeons become infected by ingesting large amounts of oocysts or when the immunity of older pigeons is reduced or broken down by stress factors.
Infested birds appear healthy, albeit rather less lively. The droppings are sometimes rather soft.
Visibly affected pigeons produce malodorous, muco-aqueous, greenish and sometimes bloody diarrhoea. They are listless, have puffed-up plumage and drink profusely, with reduced feed intake.
Recognition of the disease:
Only a small quantity of oocysts is identified in the faeces (finding = +).
The contents of the gut reveal moderate (finding = ++) or severe (finding = +++) oocyst infestation.
Pigeons suspected of infection that show mild infestation are not treated, in order not to disturb the host-pathogen equilibrium.