British pigeons ‘turning into zombies’ as mystery disease twists their necks and makes them walk in zigzags
A MYSTERIOUS disease is infecting British birds and turning them into slow-moving ‘zombies’ with deformed necks.
Horrific symptoms of the disease include deformed necks, dangerously thin bodies, and this robs the bird of its ability to fly, walk in straight lines or move quickly.
Pigeon Paramyxovirus, also known as PPMV or Newcastle’s Disease, will also turn bird droppings green and put them in danger of dying within days.
Other signs to look out for are tremors or paralysis of the wings and legs along with reluctance to move and eat.
A spokesperson for the JSPCA’s Jersey Island Animal Shelter in the Channel Islands said: “There has been an increase in the number of ground pigeons coming to the JSPCA Animal Shelter over the past few weeks, many showing neurological signs such as twisted necks, circling or inability to stand. .
“These are all signs of pigeon paramyxovirus, an always fatal viral disease that can affect pigeons, doves and poultry [where it is known as Newcastle’s Disease].
“It is a notifiable disease in captive birds [meaning that suspected cases must be reported to the authorities]but not wild birds.
“In addition to showing neurological symptoms, affected birds are usually emaciated and have green droppings.
“Sometimes they’ll also have injuries from not being able to balance or fly well.”
The JSPCA added that infected birds are euthanized quickly and humanely because they are highly contagious.
“The disease is extremely contagious and spreads through feces and other secretions.
“The virus can survive longer in wetter, colder months, meaning clusters of cases are more common at this time of year,” they continued.
It is important to try to prevent the initial infection once it has incubated, said Bird Exotics Veterinary: “The virus does not respond to treatment although supportive care from a veterinarian can reduce the severity of the disease and increase the chances of survival.”
While humans cannot get the disease, people who handle infected birds can get conjunctivitis.
This comes as earlier this month ptition of the flu it has been detected in 155 locations across the UK and more than three million birds have been killed.
Now fear is growing among poultry farmers about their livestock and that Christmas turkey stocks could be at risk.
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