Northern Pintail

Health Issues Which May Affect This Animal

What Causes This Disease?

Avian botulism is caused by the ingestion of a toxin produced by the bacteria, Clostridium botulinum type C. Avian botulism outbreaks are most common in August, September, and October throughout North America when conditions are favorable for bacterial growth.

Where Is The Disease Found?

The bacteria that cause botulism is found throughout North America, except Alaska. It has been documented in many species of waterfowl in Idaho.

Signs of Disease

Toxins produced by C. botulinum cause paralysis in birds which is often referred as “limber neck”. Paralysis usually starts in the legs and wings, then progresses to the neck, making it difficult for birds to hold up their heads. Since the birds can’t hold up their heads, the most common cause of death from botulism is drowning. Birds that do not drown usually eventually die of respiratory failure.

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What Causes This Disease?

Avian cholera is a contagious bacterial disease caused by Pasteurella multocida. The primary means of the infection is exposure to dead birds. P. multocida can linger for several weeks in water and wetlands where affected birds have died. Scavengers can also spread the disease further by tearing open carcasses, and releasing more bacteria from the carcass into the environment.

Where Is The Disease Found?

Avian cholera can be found throughout North America and has been documented in waterfowl in Idaho.

Signs of Disease

Avian cholera can occur year-round, but is more apt to occur during spring migration. Sick birds are rarely seen because the disease is usually rapidly fatal. Sick birds can show signs of sluggish behavior, drowsiness, loss of fear of people, erratic flight, or flying into the ground or water. Some affected birds have mucous coming from the nose and mouth, and yellow or blood stained feces. Because they are so sick, captured birds often die within a few minutes. Because birds die quickly, they often have no lesions on the organs. If the bird has been infected for a while it may have small white to yellow spots on the liver and red spots on the heart and possibly the gizzard.

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What Causes This Disease?

Sarcocystis is caused by the cyst stage of a protozoan parasite, Sarcocystis spp.

Where Is The Disease Found?

Sarcocystosis occurs in many species of ducks throughout the United States. The parasite has been documented in many species of waterfowl in Idaho.

Signs of Disease

Waterfowl and carnivore hosts that are infected with sarcocysts usually appear healthy. When butchering infected ducks, cysts may be observed in the breast muscle. The cysts look like grains of rice or whitish streaks running in the direction of the muscle fibers.

Read More About Sarcocystis (Rice breast)

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Northern Pintail

Anas acuta

IDAPA Classification: Game Bird Migratory
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