The Fungal Infection that can cause Breathing difficulties & Distress
- Gapeworms occupy the trachea of pheasants & chickens primarily, but can be found in any Aviary bird.
- Cause gasping sounds.
- the Bird gapes it's beak and looks as if it's gasping for breath.
- Gapeworms cycle through earthworms, so birds will usually only get infected outdoors or on dirt floors..
- Administering Baytril (Anti-biotic) only appears to have a secondary effect, at best.
- Special wormer is required for gapeworms.
- Piperazine or other worm treatment when roundworms or hairworms are also present, will keep your birds healthy.
- Mebendazole (this is the active ingredient not the brand name of a wormer) is one of the best treatments against gapeworm
- Other Wormers to use for eliminating gapeworms : fenbendazole/levamisole/lamisole/tetramisole
- For administration ratios you will have to consult your Vet or instructions on the product box.
Treatment for roundworms and hairworm in racing pigeons and cage/aviary birds.
Application: Dilute 6ml of Harka-Verm in 2 litres of drinking water.
Offer the diluted solution to birds over a 3 day period. Do not allow birds to drink from any other source. Precautionary worming is advised 3 weeks before commencing breeding.
Pack sizes: 100ml
Active ingredients: Contains
levamisole hydrochloride 8%w/v (80mg/ml)
Shelf life: Normally 18-24 months
- Birds with gapeworm infestation show signs of respiratory distress
- due to both the damage to the lungs and to the trachea that is caused by the worms.
- The difficulty in trying to treat this problem is that you have to get the medication directly onto
the worms to kill them all and they are in the lungs.
- All the worming medication mentioned above can help and MAY even get rid of the worms if caught early enough but if the worms are established over a period of time you MUST take the bird to an AVIAN VET!
- Young birds are especially vulnerable due to their relatively small trachea.
- Symptoms include :
- Depression, gasping for breath, and head shaking ~ in an attempt to remove the worms from the trachea.
(a gurgling sound made during breathing that accompanies tracheal irritation) can be heard in many cases,
- This can sometimes be mistaken for an upper respiratory infection.
- In the case of the gapeworm, once a susceptible bird ingests an infested earthworm, the larvae penetrate
the wall of the intestine and eventually end up in the lungs.
- Once in the lung, the larvae migrate into the bronchi.
- A moult of the larvae takes place resulting in the adult gapeworm,
- Then the adult worms migrate up the respiratory tree to the trachea
- where the male and female worms intertwine and attach themselves to each other permanently.
- The entire process from the time the bird ingests the earthworm to the time adult gapeworms can be found
in the trachea is approximately 7 days.
- Gapeworm egg production begins about 14 days after infestation of the larvae.
- The eggs are then coughed up into the mouth of the bird and passed out into the faeces.
- In the droppings, the eggs incubate for 8 to 14 days
- under optimum conditions of temperature and moisture to become infective larvae,
- thus completing the life cycle.
- Under necropsy, the adult gapeworms appear as long, red strands attached to the tracheal wall,
- almost like thin strands of blood.
- In chronic infestations, nodules of inflammatory tissue appear in the tracheal wall at the site of worm attachment.
- You can imagine how difficult it would be to breathe normally under these conditions.