Adeno type 2
By Dr.H.J.M.de Weerd
Adeno-type 2 caused death of plm.10,000 pigeons in the province West Brabant.
One day, it happens in late summer 1991………my late lamented good friend Harry Schouwenberg contacted me seized by panic with cry for help: “Henk can you pay me a visit as soon as possible because all my widow cocks are dying”.
I started the car and drove like lightning to Etten-Leur. The problem occurred already the day before. Symptoms in the afternoon: the pigeons were still looking fine but they produced bright yellow stool, stains as big as our old fashioned guilder and bigger. In the evening they sat all together on the floor but didn’t eat and drunk just a few. After examination I noticed that the crop seemed the way to be filled with a few air and the muscles started to feel flabby. And always again that bright yellow stool. Next morning, most of the times around 10 o’clock (in this cases a typical symptom) all the pigeons laid gasping on the floor and were not any longer able to stand on their legs and most of all they couldn’t fly anymore. At this very moment the muscles felt real spongy. In spite they seemed to be still in a good condition, the pigeons died now within 24 hours due to the very fast and serious clinical picture.
Immediately one list all the possible causes to the point ( the so called differential diagnosis) such as a poisoning, for example:
1. a poisoning from the field
2. a new unknown virus disease or
3. a get out of hand E-coli infection.
In those times (1991) the acute deaths caused by paramyxo as we see nowadays did not play an important role. Keeping the pigeons in the lofts to protect them from a possible poisoning from the fields and a last minute started antibiotic treatment had absolutely no effect. Neither the change in grains (mixture). A microscopic examination ( worms-hairworms-tapeworms-coccidiosis-trichomonas) did not give any result. Bacteriological research gives almost always the presence of E-coli but in this specific matter it had nothing to do with it. This means learn to read the results.
To make a long story short, nothing could be of help and the pigeons died like rats. More often cocks then hens and less often young birds, often widow cocks which achieved in the recent past excellent results so the reason must be: a “basket” infection coming from the container(transporter) because the whole province West Brabant was suffering from the same disease. A mortality up to 50% of the total loft stock. The terrible thing about this matter is that you are at a dead loss and this is for an avian vet the worst scenario: not able to help your patients.
Soon after we sent pigeons to the University of Gent for a virus and further examination. The faculty of veterinary medicine of this university was till 10 years ago probably world’ s best institute for research after pigeon diseases. First, one was thinking of a herpes virus: for me this was rather remarkable taking in consideration my previous essays regarding herpes type 1 and type 2. In this case the autopsy showed an enlargement of and a green stained liver. Diagnosis: complete liver destruction and therefore the bright yellow stool, but still by unknown causes. No herpes infection but all the more “entrapping” bodies in the liver cells. After a longer study on this phenomenon described by “Gent” as Adeno type 2 but then we are writing already 1992.
There is no treatment. Thank heavens the problem died down. The risk of infection became less because so many pigeons died spontaneously. Since 1991 I have, thank goodness, never seen this horrible disease in the same dramatic proportions again. Nobody in West Brabant wanted to talk about this specific case but a lot of fanciers were ruined. Also, well-intended (preventive) vaccinations with an adeno virus vaccine for barn-door fowl didn’t help but you try to do at least something.
Curiously the disease Adeno type 2 was described much later in 1992 in the scientific literature but in that time we were already over the hump for six months. We discussed the much more harmless Adeno type 1 already in a previous article.
translation: Henk de Brueijs.