The “Pigeon Disease Primer” explores important differential diagnoses for common clinical problems observed in pigeons and doves. Although the clinical approach to the columbiform relies on the same concepts of “One Medicine” used in all species, many of the infectious diseases of pigeons are relatively unique to this taxonomic group, or at least much more prevalent when compared to psittacine birds or songbirds.
Although pigeons and doves are a diverse group of birds, they do share some clinically significant anatomy and physiology, including a large, bilobed crop or ingluvies, crop milk production, as well as a vascular plexus found in the subcutis of pigeons. This post also touches on specialized anatomic features unique to fruit pigeons before summarizing some features of the columbid integumentary system, musculoskeletal system, and urogenital tract.
This practice of pigeon fancy is generally called “pigeon racing” in North America and “pigeon play” in Europe. The principles of pigeon fancy are intricate and there are a variety of vocabulary terms that seem quite mysterious. There is also a history of resistance to veterinary involvement among many pigeon breeders so it can be intimidating for even experienced avian veterinarians to interact with the pigeon fancier.