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A vet speaks

From when I was a kid I remember that my parents, my neighbours, the friends of my parents and my uncles (nearly everybody had pigeons in those days) often discussed the theme "with or without a vet".

One group said birds should stay in good health by themselves, those that get sick should be eliminated, others said that without a vet or medication one should forget nice performances.

But times have changed.

Apart from some 'sprint guys' (whose birds only stay in the baskets for one night) the majority of today's fanciers visit a vet every now and then, how often varies.

Some only consult a vet in case of problems, others twice a year (before the racing and the breeding season) and some see a vet weekly.

Of course such a vet should be a pigeon man and very few are.

A vast majority may know a lot about pigs, dogs, cats or poultry but about pigeons they know nothing.

A vet of a younger generation is doctor Vincent Schroeder.

He is ambitious and pigeon crazy.

For my latest book that I am going to publish late 2008 I had an interview with him. It became a long interview; a short summary maybe interesting for the average fancier.


Many fanciers are retired, they have little money and find the money for a visit to a vet a waste.

Doctor Schroeder thinks they are wrong. Just as humans birds can get sick and if one medicates without consulting a vest they may really waste money since the wrong medicine may be used against the wrong diseases, or even against diseases that birds do not suffer from.


Pigeons that are raced short distance in cold weather may have a bit canker. But if they are raced further in hot weather he advocates a 'zero tolerance' which means the birds must not have the least trichomoniasis; NOTHING AT ALL.


Fanciers that treat their birds against paratyphoid in fall (6 weeks before mating) do the right thing. He is against vaccinating unless birds are infected. In that case a cure should be followed by an injection.


He is strongly in favour of apple vinegar. It does not prevent Coli as many people say  but once the birds are totally free from canker they will not easily get it if you often give (apple) vinegar, that means nearly daily outside the season.

There is no difference between vinegar and apple vinegar apart from the price. He does not believe in vitamins (nor do I) apart from breeders in winter. It should be a proper mix of A, D and E.


He used to believe in tea but not any more.


Due to the abuse of medicine more and more birds suffer from Mycosis.

Such birds have no appetite and in the crops is too much water or feed that is not digested. In extreme cases the symptoms are similar to those of Adeno Coli which is confusing for many fanciers.


Some fanciers find streptococci a problem but pigeons very rarely suffer from it.  


He does not believe in 'one day cures' after every race. If birds are sick they are not effective, if they are not sick they undermine resistance.


He found that pigeons may suffer from coccidioses while nothing can be found in the droppings. When birds eat much grit or eat in the yard coccidioses may be the cause.


The biggest mistakes fanciers make:

- They do not select strongly on results and natural health.

- They fall for all the crap that is advertised and that pigeons do not need at all.

- They have no patience and train their birds too often and at a too young age.

- Some finish their birds with Baytril. It must not be given more than 3 days.

- After some races fanciers complain about respiratory problems. In most cases birds were already very lightly infected before the season but they get problems after physical exertions.


There is nothing that you can do to prevent an outbreak of Adeno Coli apart from pray. Vinegar nor acids are effective.


It happens that fanciers 'forget' to vaccinate against paramyxo. When the virus attacks they use La Sota. This is a big mistake. La Sota is a live virus and you will make things worse.

Pox is different. In case birds have pox you may vaccinate.


Do NOT believe in products or medicine that are effective against different diseases.


The best treatment against canker is the following:

A cure of about a week before the season and a cure of 3 days every month during the season. In hot weather one should be careful and birds may be treated every 3 weeks. In cold weather canker is seldom a problem.


Especially Americans and Asians believe in 'eye sign'. Eye sign is 100% B.S. for sure 


He has clients from Holland and Belgium. The quality of the birds is the same but Dutch fanciers differ a lot. They are more ambitious, they go for better birds and better methods while many Belgians still believe in the magic bottle.


Doctor de Weerd claims that pro biotics are a pure waste. His college dr. Schroeder fully agrees.


So far part of an interview with young doctor Schroeder. Of course he is not the only good pigeon vet but since so many champions have confidence in him we should take him very serious.