Pigeon health

   medicines for chickens

29. 11. 2007.
Here in Chennai – India we are not getting any Vitamins/Medicine/Vaccination for pigeon all we are using his poultry stuff. Could you just advice which poultry medicine can be used to pets like pigeon? (We are having about 7 to 8 pigeon racing club and we race from 200 to 1200 kilometers (Air root) measured.)
If possible, we should use products specifically designed for pigeons. But there are occasions when the necessary agent does not appear in any specialized pigeon medicine, and so we have no option but to use other medicines, e.g. ones designed for chickens. In this case, there is naturally no dosage for pigeons on the packaging, but the specified measure for chickens provides a point of reference. We should avoid the traps presented by adopting this dosage directly.
The dosage of most medicines should really be calculated in proportion to body surface area rather than body weight, because this is much more precise. The surface of the body is what separates the bird and the outside world, through which the bird is penetrated and through which it releases many substances; in short, it is the point of continuous contact with its surroundings. Measurement of dosage relative to body surface area is almost impossible, however, as it is very hard to calculate, even to guess, what this area is. Thus in the case of pigeons it is the body weight that we take into account – the only problem being that body weight is not proportionate to body surface area, and so adapting the dosage for chickens can lead to mistakes.
Let us take a perfect example! If we compare a cube with edges of 2cm with one of 1cm, we immediately see that the mass of the larger cube is eight times that of the smaller one, but its complete surface area only four times greater: the surface area increases less than the weight does. The same is true in reverse: if we decrease the weight, the surface area declines to a smaller degree. From this it follows that smaller bodies have a larger surface area relative to their weight. This is why young birds lose heat faster than adult ones: the smaller amount of heat generated by the smaller body is released into the surroundings through a surface that is relatively larger. It can withstand strong heat better for the same reason: relatively speaking, the area for it to release the heat is larger. We can also deduce from their relatively large body surface area that the young must expend more energy on producing feathers, and that there is a larger terrain for parasites to attack them.
So, if the mass of a half-kilo pigeon is half that of a one-kilo chicken, its body surface area is not half, but more, about two-thirds. If the pigeon weighs a quarter of a kilo, the weight-surface area ratio is even further distorted: e.g. the total surface area of four Ľ kilo pigeons, i.e. “a kilo” of pigeons, is approximately double that of a one kilo chicken.

The logical consequence of the above would be that the treatment of pigeons requires double the dose of that of chickens. This only a generalization, however, as with some agents we must not increase the dose. We should always discuss dosage with the veterinarian, lest we poison the whole flock, or spend money unnecessarily. In general, the advice would be that if the dosage for chickens is prescribed within a certain range, then for pigeons we should use the highest dosage allowed. For example, if the prescribed dosage for chickens is 10 - 20 mg per kilogram of body weight, in the case of pigeons we should administer 20 mg.
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