Dr. Rob Marshall, B. V. Sc, M.A.V. C. Sc (Avian Health) Has invited you to ask question and concerns

After yesterday’s announcement by Dr Rob Marshall he has invited question or concerns to be posted here for him to answer

he is aware that there a differing views and opinions and has said he is more than happy to discuss his views or any answer or any concerns

 

so if you you have a question post it here or send it to me to pass on, or post your questions under this heading on Facebook for him to answer

From: Dr Rob Marshall [mailto:robmarshall@birdhealth.com.au] Sent: Thursday, January 5, 2017 4:32 PM
To: ‘Ivica Fonti’
Subject: Answers

“Dr Marshall is withdrawing from further conversation or involvement with the current disease outbreak in Victoria and recommends to follow the directions of the national body which follows Dr Colin Walker’s recommendations. The questions below are the last he will be answering concerning the outbreak. Dr Marshall’s is keen to answer any questions that his own clients may have concerning the disease. His recommendations regarding treatment plans and prevention plans will be on a client only basis and not for general publication.”

ANSWERS:

Question 1
Is Rio virus contagious to other birds such as canaries and finches?

The virus itself has not yet been identified but the disease outbreak at the moment does not appear to infect birds other than pigeons. We know this from the experience of the WA outbreak. Relevant authorities in WA should be consulted for their opinion.

Question 2
Please clarify this question relates to reovirus not PMV as was written in the question?
Part 1: If your loft contracts Reovirus how should you clean your loft during and after the event?

We must wait now wait until the virus is identified. Once identified, these questions can be exactly answered. Dr Walker will be able to answer these questions for you.

Refer to answer to question 10 for disinfecting instructions.

Part 2: Should infected Lofts be suspended from racing and how long after the last bird has died should this suspension last?

We must wait now wait until the virus is identified. Once identified, these questions can be exactly answered. Dr Walker will be able to answer these questions for you.

Part 3: Reovirus can live in the loft for an extended time, does it also live in the ground outside, on the outside of the lofts etc?

We must wait now wait until the virus is identified. Once identified, these questions can be exactly answered. Dr Walker will be able to answer these questions for you.

Question 3
How can a veterinarian, especially one involved in animal sport at a time when animal liberation movements are at their highest, be advocating a course of action that will cruelly kill hundreds of thousands of pigeons purely to allow a seasons racing?

The situation in Melbourne is such that the disease can be considered to be an epidemic because over 50 lofts have become infected. Therefore, the disease is likely to spread throughout Melbourne over the next months irrespective of the strictest bio-security measures. Alternative approaches to managing this disease must be considered because there is no guarantee of a vaccine for at least one year. Birds will inevitably become exposed and die from this disease in the same way irrespective when and how they are exposed to the disease. The aim is to be proactive, limit these losses and to prevent the disease from lingering for possibly years whilst a vaccine is being developed.

What is needed at the moment is conversation with and between fanciers that keep racing pigeons and those that keep fancy pigeons to ascertain the concerns of each group so that a plan that satisfies both groups can be organised. At the moment the conversation is driven by fear and anger due to the uncertainty of which approach should be followed. There is no simple answer to this disease but a common cause must be found and that is the reason to encourage sensible dialogue and the consideration of all options for managing this disease in the best interest of all pigeon owners and the welfare of their pigeons. At the moment, no direction has been given. A firm direction will be possible after consultation with all parties involved. I would support the lock down of all infected lofts and to allow those uninfected lofts to let their birds out for controlled exercise.

I would like to step away from the political discussions and hatred but offer my support if requested.

Question 4
Are you cashing in on this virus selling your products and are you suggesting your radical approach to sell more of your products?

The current situation is complex because there is no likelihood of vaccination for 1 year. This means the disease will infect most lofts by the time the vaccination is available. The focus should be directed at understanding the nature of the disease and limiting the inevitable losses. This requires a treatment plan be organised beforehand. Our experience in the WA outbreak has allowed us to refine a treatment plan that will limit the losses to 5-10% in racing pigeons. Racing pigeons are inherently strong so that the losses can be minimal. Fancy pigeons are inherently weak so that it is expected the losses will be great. The dilemma is to put in place a plan to reduce losses in both kinds of birds. The treatment plan I proposed is similar to the other one recommended.

The racing pigeon fraternity must communicate with the fancy pigeon people to determine the best approach for both strong and weak pigeons. This requires a compromise from both parties. The principal requirement for race pigeons is that they are trained to home as young birds and are allowed to fly around the loft to develop health and fitness. This means a clear directive needs to be given to the racing pigeon fraternity by the fancy pigeon people that this is appropriate. Only healthy, non infected racing pigeons should be allowed to loft fly at the moment. Those infected lofts need to keep their birds secure inside the loft and practice bio-security measures.

Question 5
Does the virus kill the birds with the weakest constitution in other words is it eliminating the ones that have little resistance to ANY ailment?

True. This is why it is such a complicated problem because the fancy birds may suffer heavier losses than race pigeons. The fact is that we do not know that this is the case. Therefore, fancy pigeon lofts that become infected should take very careful diary notes and inform exactly of their losses when appropriate early treatment is given. We understand that heavy losses are experienced when treatment is not given at the first sign of the disease. From this information, we can then understand the full impact on those who keep fancy pigeons.

Question 6
Is looking at the whole fancy a far better and more equitable option rather than catering to only one part of the pigeon fancy?

I agree completely. We must know what the priorities of each fancy are. To achieve this we must engage in calm conversation about the concerns of both fancy and racing pigeon owners. The main thing is, that to arrive at a common agreement of how to best manage this problem at the moment relies on gaining more information about the number of deaths and types of birds that are most affected by this disease, be they fancy or racing pigeons. From this information we can refine a treatment plan to limit losses. This means a clear directive needs to be given to the racing pigeon fraternity by the fancy pigeon people that this is appropriate. Only healthy, non infected racing pigeons should be allowed to loft fly at the moment. Those infected lofts need to keep their birds secure inside the loft and practice bio-security measures.

Question 7
How can the virus be contained if THOUSANDS of infected race birds will be lost throughout Victoria, that then cross infect wild birds that become likely carriers, who then in turn infect the rest of the domestic pigeon fancy in Victoria and Australia?

It is exactly true what you say. This disease is not contained in Melbourne because 50 lofts are currently infected. This means that the disease will spread through Melbourne. In the meantime, measures to contain the disease to Melbourne are required. This means each uninfected state should legislate against movement of pigeons between their borders. The focus of attention is on limiting inevitable losses. See answer to question 6.

Question 8
If the chook Reo virus only offers partial immunity can the dosage and frequency be increased to off sufficient immunity?

Currently Dr Walker is investigating this possibility. Vaccine development is a specialist and highly regulated field. The development of a vaccine will take at least 1 year.

Question 9
If you get the virus, what supportive additives to you suggest to maximize recovery, especially if the Liver is the main organ affected. Is there supplements readily available that benefits the Livers health?

Refer to current Immune Stimulating Plan available from myself or Dr Walker. There are liver cleansing products available.

Question 10
If you get the virus what is the best method and products to disinfecting the loft?
Is there any value in disinfecting the loft if the recovered birds are still contagious and shed the virus for many months after recovering?

Refer to treatment plan plans available from myself or Dr Walker. Yes, the continuing weekly disinfection after recovery will lessen the chance of infected lofts being problematic to healthy lofts. Any product registered as a virucide disinfectant. These are available from myself, Dr Walker or produce stores.

Question 11

I have been researching the effects that vitamin C have on disease toxins and viruses. Just wondering if anyone else has looked into this? I was wondering if it would be beneficial to give a course of vitamin C after completing pox and PMV vaccinations. I know not to give them vitamin C immediately after vaccination but not sure on how long to wait?

Pigeons produce their own vitamin C in the liver therefore with a liver problem, production is impaired. This means vitamin C therapy may be of value.

Carlingford Animal Hospital
772 Pennant Hills Road
Carlingford, NSW 2118

Phone: 02 9871 6036
robmarshall@birdhealth.com.au
ABN: 16 003 477 156



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