We are pleased to announce that the renowned pigeon veterinarian, Frank Harper has kindly provided this interesting article from his excellent book 'Problem Droppings Explained'.

Frank is not only a veterinarian who successfully races pigeons, he is also the author of various informative books on the health of pigeons, all of which are obtainable through us.

The Ten Commandments?

Extracted from "Problem Droppings Explained" (Page 53 - Treatment)

Try to find what is wrong with the birds.

Poor droppings are only a symptom, there is a cause - the "why" behind the need for any treatment.   (Put another way, there is no such disease as "bad droppings", treatment should be aimed at removing the cause, not just suppressing the symptoms). As well as "why", you need to know "what" you are giving.   A name on a packet should not be enough for the intelligent fancier.   The packet labels on Dutch products are more informative than on Belgian products.   Even though the label is in Dutch, the "enhalte" (contents) should tell you enough to recognise the drugs used - the language of chemistry is international!   (An important consideration when using imported products.   Trade names differ, but it is the active component that carries the important information.   For example, if you are looking to change your anti-trichomonal treatment, a simple change of brand-name may result in the use of the same drug.   The situation worsens when the active component cannot be identified.   Reliable information on past medication (even when unsuccessful) can be a valuable time saver when dealing with problem cases).

Always full dose for full time. Antibacterials are bacterial poisons, they need to be given in high enough/long enough doses.   Unless this is achieved, the surviving bacteria are those that were the most resistant and hand this resistance on to following generations.   Draw your own analogy with poisoning rats - you don't leave out a "little bit" of poison once a week.   Yet so many fanciers take this approach to antibiotics and to anti-trichomonals in particular.

Mix in a bucket, not the drinker Birds have died from overdose of unmixed medicine.   Mix medicines well!   This particularly applies to Tiamulin, where a concentrated solution can kill so quickly, that the birds do not even get away from the drinker.  If you have started, finish it. Do not "chop and change" in mid- treatment.  (Remember the ability of bacteria to develop drug resistance.  Not only in subsequent generations, but resistance can be transferred to other, unrelated bacteria present at the time).
Too many imported products are blunderbuss treatments. They have to be by their nature, the makers know nothing of your birds.  Why give five antibiotics, with all the drawbacks, when one correct choice will do the job?  (This is a British veterinary perspective.  Although effective in some cases, such a blunderbuss approach - "give them a bit of everything, since we don't know what is wrong" - is second best to an accurate diagnosis and targeted treatment).
Don't hand on "bits left over". The next fancier may not need the same, nor have enough.  (It happens all the time, usually with the best of intentions, but now we are back where we started - ignoring the "why", the "what" the "high enough/long enough dose"
When you understand these principles, you can start to see some of the reasons why our birds and our sport are going wrong.

        Ten commandments?

We have only covered eight.  two are missing,
but then that's pigeon racing!

Frank Harper