Most commonly, this virus is spread by mosquitoes and mites which transmit the virus from an infected bird to a non-infected bird. Canaries that are housed outdoors are more susceptible than those kept inside. The virus, however, can also be transmitted after eating infected scabs or inhalation of aerosols. Canaries that have survived Pox Virus can become carriers and spread the disease when introduced into a bird room or aviary.
Disease Progression / Symptoms
There are several distinct symptoms seen in canaries infected with the pox virus.
Dry or Skin Form (the most common form):
- Nodular or crusted areas of the non-feathered skin are seen. These lesions often occur around the face, eyes, beak and on the legs and feet. Beginning as white or yellow areas they rapidly progress to form crusts.
Wet or Throat Form:
- Thickened plaques occur in the mouth, throat, or sinuses.
Note: Wet and dry lesions may occur together.
- weight loss
- rapid breathing
- fluffed up feathers
- sudden onset of labored breathing
- sudden death
Currently, there is no cure for Canary Pox which is fatal about 80% of the time and there are currently no medications that combat a virus. However, a good number of birds do recover with good care. The following is recommended:
- Provide supportive care to your bird
- Treatment of the crusts using an antibacterial solution is used if a secondary infection is present.
- Antibiotics – although ineffective against the Canary Pox virus itself – may be prescribed to treat or prevent secondary bacterial infections.
- Bird-specific Probiotics should be offered to help compete with potentially pathogenic bacteria.
- Prevention (please refer to below …)
Control of mosquitoes and mites is critical if birds are housed outdoors.
- Consider keeping canaries indoors: Because of the danger of Canary Pox being transmitted by mosquitoes, many consider it unsafe to keep canaries in outdoor flights or cages. Furthermore, canaries kept indoors rarely need to be treated for worms. If kept outdoors, it is recommended that their droppings be examined by a veterinarian at least once year.
- Probiotics are designed to flood your canary’s system, with GOOD bacteria or microbes which enables your canary to get the most out of the foods he eats and helps build a strong immune system.
- Psittacine-specific probiotics (good bacterial normally found in parrots) should be offered to help compete with potentially pathogenic bacteria
- Why is Lactobacillus Acidolphilus so Important to your Bird’s Health?
- Vaccination: Healthy, at risk birds can be vaccinated, although this is most typically done for birds living in a flock rather than an isolated household pet. This vaccine that will prevent your canary from getting the Pox Virus … Please refer to the below …
POXIMUNE ® C Canary Pox Vaccine, Modified Live Virus
Poximune C contains modified live canary pox virus. The vaccine is freeze-dried and is accompanied with the sterile diluent for rehydration and wing-web applicators.
Poximune C is recommended for the vaccination of canaries as an aid in the prevention of canary pox. Poximune C is administered by the wing web method to healthy, susceptible canaries at least four weeks old. The vaccine is rehydrated with the accompanying sterile diluent. Using the provided wing-web applicator, each canary receives the dose of 0.01 ml.
Other Relevant Web Resources
- Index of Bird Diseases
- Symptoms and Potential Causes
- Bird Health Care
- Glossary of Avian Medical Terms
- Medications Used in Avian and Exotic Medicine and Pharmaceutical Terms
- How to administer oral medications to a bird
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Information contained on this website is provided as general reference only. For application to specific circumstances, professional advice should be sought.