Pathological study of parasitism in racing pigeons: An indication of its effects on community health
Several non-official reports from different clinics, governmental veterinary head-quarters and bird keepers indicate that most of the young pigeons die with suspicious infection to parasites. In addition, the pigeon owners were complaining of skin itching on their head. Thus, this research was conducted to determine the pathological study of parasitism in racing pigeons with an indication of its effects on community health. It was carried out from May to September 2011, by an experimental study on 250 (168 adults and 82 nestlings) blood and faecal samples (Soulsby, 1982) randomly collected from suspected pigeons (mostly young) and 25 specific free pathogen birds as control. Tissue samples of both infected and control birds were removed and compared with samples of the histological study. Moreover, 12 hair samples taken from pigeon owners were checked for external parasites. The data indicate prevalence rate of various helminthes including Raillietina achinobothridia (10.4%), Syngamus trachea (8.4%), Capillaria colombae (6%) and Ascaridia colombae (8.4%). The results reveal some porotozan infections including Haemoproteus colombae (20.8%), Trichomonas gallinae (26.8%) Cryptosporidium sp. (1.2%) and Eimeria sp. (21.6%) and also ectoparasites including Lipeurus sp. (3.2%), Menopen gallinae (15.2%), Ceratophyllus colombae (10.4%) and Louse fly (12%). Multiple infections observed with internal parasites were 19/4%. However, co-infection of internal and external parasites was 24.4%. Meanwhile, five out of the 12 hair samples taken from pigeon owners were infected with the fleas (C. colombae) and lice (M. gallinae) as seen by the clinical manifestation of allergic urticarial reaction and itching. Histological studies showed a visible vascular congestion and a massive lymphoplasmacytic infiltration inside the smooth muscular layer of the small intestine of infected pigeons. This result indicates that pigeons and their owners may be at high risk of single or multiple parasitic infections.
Key words: Endoparasite, ectoparasites, ovum, birds, fleas, epidemiology.