Trichomoniasis (Trichomonas gallinae or Trichomonas columbae) is a flagellate infection in birds and caused by a microscopic parasite. In pigeon the disease is called Canker, in raptors Frounce. The trichomonad parasite lives in the mouth, throat, gastro-intestinals tract and upper respiratory tract of the bird and block the bird’s throat, making it unable to swallow food. Clinical characteristics are lethargy and fluffed-up plumage, dribbeling of saliva, regurgitation of food, difficulty in swallowing or show laboured breathing, white or yellow cheesy-looking plaques, ulcers and/or nodules inside of the mouth and throat. Other sign of trichomoniasis are vomiting, dehydration, weight loss and poor body condition, also diarrhea. Small birds are frequently seen to have matted and wet plumage around the face and beak, in addition uneaten food in and around the beak. The birds die from starvation. The susceptibility appears to be higher in young birds. Also in pigeons the disease are seen mainly in nestlings and young pigeons. Trichomoniasis are spread from bird to bird via contaminated feed and water sources, with saliva or possibly droppings. In raptors a contamination is also possible by ingestion of infected birds particularly pigeons. In pigeons the parasites are also transmitted from adult to juveniles via crop milk.
The trichomonad parasite is vulnerable to drying out and cannot survive for long periods outside the host like many other protozoan organism do (e.g. coccidia).
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