So you suspect your canary birds have the poxvirus? I have summarized the canarypox symptoms from three different laboratory studies to help you identify it. The canarypox is a contiguous and dangerous avian virus that worries every canary breeder, and for good reason. The virus is a common canary disease, it has no cure, and it causes huge losses. Now let’s focus on the symptoms.
Reported canarypox symptoms from Canada
In 1957, a Canadian laboratory study was conducted after an outbreak of canarypox in a canary aviary in Ontario, Canada. Signs of infection were noticed two to three weeks following exposure to the virus. After the death of a large group of birds, they were sent to the laboratory for examination. After examining twelve canaries, the following symptoms were reported:
- The appearance of skin lesions after the virus was well established. They were round and yellowish, sometimes dry and rough, and in other cases pustular. The lesions’ diameter ranged from 1 to 5 mm and appeared on all parts of the body including legs, feet, and neck and commissures of the beak.
- Inflammation and swelling around the eye, and in advanced cases, eyes were often closed due to the swelling of the eyelids.
- Difficulty breathing, poor appetite, lethargy, and lack of movement and activity.
- Before death, the birds sat on the floor of the cage with their eyes closed and their feathers fluffed out.
- Pale yellow or white material on the palate and larynx.
- Lesions on the lungs, and in one case, the spleen was enlarged and dark red.
Reported canarypox symptoms from Lebanon
In 2017, the canarypox virus spread to several Lebanese canary farms, killing nearly 50% of them. After the completion of laboratory examinations on seven sick birds, the findings were published in the Journal of Applied Animal Research. Symptoms reported are summarized below:
- All eyelids were damaged and thickened.
- Poor appetite and general weakness.
- The appearance of skin lesions on the beak, foot, and caudal regions.
- The presence of secondary infection in two birds. They tested positive for Mycoplasma.
- The occurrence of death 5 to 6 days after symptoms appeared.
- The absence of lesions in the trachea, esophagus, liver, and lung, indicating that the pox was non-diphteric (wet pox).
Reported symptoms from an American aviary
Canarypox also infected an American aviary containing 450 canaries, and the virus killed more than 292 birds. After examining ten canaries, symptoms were published in the Journal Avian Pathology in 2009. These were the most common symptoms reported:
- Skin lesion on the head, neck, back, and around the beak and eyelids.
- Feather loss on the neck, back, and around the eyes and beak.
- Thickening of the eyelids.
- Severe shortness of breath.
- Weight loss, poor appetite, and general weakness.
- Secondary infections mainly included mega bacteria with varying severity, and only one bird was diagnosed with Staphylococcus aureus.
- Death occurred within 3 to 18 days of infection.
As we can see, the canarypox symptoms depend on the severity of the virus, and the chance of survival depends on the individual bird and his immunity and the presence of secondary infections and the ability to identify and control them.
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