Identifying canarypox symptoms is crucial for every canary breeder, as the virus is a common and dangerous avian disease with no cure. If you suspect that your canary birds have the poxvirus, it’s important to know what to look for.
In this article, we have summarized canarypox symptoms from three different laboratory studies to help you identify the virus. By recognizing the symptoms early, you can take measures to prevent the spread of the disease and minimize losses.
Reported canarypox symptoms from Canada
In 1957, a laboratory study was conducted in Ontario, Canada, following an outbreak of canarypox in a canary aviary. The first signs of infection were observed two to three weeks after the birds were exposed to the virus. Unfortunately, a large group of birds died, and they were sent to the laboratory for examination. After analyzing twelve canaries, the following symptoms were identified:
- 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, 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, canarypox virus outbreak affected multiple canary farms in Lebanon, resulting in the death of almost 50% of the birds. Laboratory examinations were conducted on seven sick birds, and the results were published in the Journal of Applied Animal Research. The following symptoms were reported:
- 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, indicates that the pox was non-diphtheritic (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 of Avian Pathology in 2009. These were the most common symptoms reported:
- Skin lesions 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 demonstrated by the variety of reported symptoms across different outbreaks, the severity of canarypox can vary widely, and the likelihood of survival depends on a range of factors including individual bird immunity, the presence of secondary infections, and the effectiveness of identification and control measures. Prompt recognition of symptoms and implementation of appropriate interventions, such as isolation and supportive care, can improve the chances of survival and limit the spread of the disease.
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