Health Issues Which May Affect This Animal
What Causes This Disease?Aspergillosis is caused by a fungus, Aspergillus fumigatus. The fungus is present in the environment. In birds that are immunocompromised or stressed, the fungal spores can invade the respiratory tissues and create matts of fungal hyphae.
Where Is The Disease Found?Aspergillosis is found in soil across most of North America and been associated with mortality events in many areas in both waterfowl and raptors. Aspergillosis had been documented in waterfowl and raptors in Idaho.
Signs of DiseaseBirds affected by aspergillosis are usually thin, lethargic and may present with open mouth breathing. Aspergillosis tends to be a chronic disease but can develop quickly depending on the number of spores inhaled. In birds that are chronically infected, either yellow to white thickened areas or thick mats of white to green fungus are present in the lungs and airsacs.
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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 DiseaseToxins 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 DiseaseAvian 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?Avian influenza is caused by an influenza type A virus. There are 144 different types of avian influenza viruses known. Avian Influenza viruses are categorized into two groups, high pathogenity and low pathogenicity, based on the extent of illness and death they cause in domestic poultry.
Where Is The Disease Found?Avian influenza is found worldwide including North America. The disease is found in domestic poultry and wild waterfowl, typically in the low pathogenicity forms. Avian Influenza has been found waterfowl and raptors in Idaho.
Signs of DiseaseAvian influenza can cause a variety of clinical signs in birds including lack of energy and appetite, decreased egg production, soft-shelled or misshapen eggs, swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks, purple discoloration of the wattles, combs, and legs, nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing, lack of coordination, diarrhea, or sudden death without clinical signs. At necropsy, nasal discharge, greenish, watery diarrhea and swelling around the eyes and neck can be seen. In addition, multifocal necrosis of the pancreas and liver, pulmonary congestion and edema, subepicardial hemorrhage, and myocarditis can be seen.
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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 DiseaseWaterfowl 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.
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**Attention Youth Hunters**
If you or a youngster you know are interested in waterfowl hunting, come join IDFG at the Clark Fork Delta on September 30th for a day of learning methods and techniques while in the duck blind. All participants will be paired up with experienced waterfowl hunters ready to mentor and share their wealth of hunting knowledge. The kids will be out at first light for a chance at some quackers and honkers, spend a couple hours in the blind, and will come back for a lunch and demonstrations on calling, dog retrieving, and duck identification.
Aspiring Waterfowl Hunters: Join our local Fish and Game staff in Nampa on November 19 to learn the basics of waterfowl hunting. The course includes both classroom and field instruction in rules and regulations, waterfowl ID, where to hunt, duck calling, gear, field dressing, etc. Register by November 11; check the flyer for more details.
Every year around early December, Conservation Officers are called to assist with duck hunters in distress.