By Ted Golka


I usually don’t write to periodicals, but after reading the IF IT WERE ME column, I wanted to share my experience with capillary worms and peafowl. I’m not a veterinarian, but I have worked in the field of veterinarian medicine for over twenty years. During this time, I have been involved with the propagation and husbandry of both domestics and exotics ranging from finches to emus, mice to quarter horses.

During the ten years spent raising peafowl, I have formed the opinion that there are three main parasitic enemies. Histomonas (blackhead), coccidia (coccidiosis), and nemotodes (worms). Of these three, coccidia and nematodes are the most difficult to eliminate.

There are three types of capillaria worms. Capillaria caudinflata has an intermediate host in the earthworm and infect the birds small intestine. Capillaria obsignata is passed directly form one bird to another and infects the small intestine and ceca. Capillaria contorta can either be passed directly or by the earth worm and infects the mouth, esophagus, and crop.

Ivomec is a very good wormer. I personally use two to three bottles a year on everything from pigeons to sheep; but is not effective against capillary worms. I like many other use Ivomec and automatically assumed I was doing a good job of controlling internal parasites until one fall. A peahen I had purchased during the summer started to go downhill on me. The bird had been quarantined for three weeks after it was purchased and treated for blackhead, coccidia, and wormed with Ivomec. At first, I just felt the bird needed to be rewormed, but two weeks after re worming the bird showed very little improvement. I ran a fecal sample and, you guessed it, the bird was loaded with capillary worms.

When I called my vet and explained what I had found , he couldn’t believe that I had never read the package insert for the product. His words were it’s not a miracle drug. It has its limitations. If you want to get capillaria, you should be using Panacure. I used the Panacure not only on the sick bird but on all my peafowl. The sick bird recovered and was laying eggs the following spring.

Panacure cattle dewormer is manufactured by Hoechst-Roussel. It is a fenbendazole 10% suspension. The dosage that I used was 5mg. Per lb. of bird, or .1cc per every two pounds of bird orally for three days. I have also mixed 1.5cc of Panacure with a half a gallon of drinking water for three days and had good results. The only problem is that the Panacure has a tendency to settle out of the water, so you might want to stir the water once during the day. I personally remove the birds drinking water the night before. The next morning, they get fresh water with the wormer added. I water with the wormer added. I do this for three days and then repeat the process again in 14 to 21 days. I feel this should be done two to three times a year.

Finally, I would like to comment on a couple of things about Ivomec. First, because of the way it works, it only needs to be administered once, not three days in a row like most wormers. Once it’s in the system, it lasts for approximately 30 days it doesn’t matter if it’s given orally or injected. The dosage is the same.

Ivomec has a very large margin of safety, but you should still not overdose. For an adult peafowl, .25 cc is more than adequate. I still use the Ivomec for the control of external and internal parasites, but I also use the Panacure for the capillary worms. A WORD OF CAUTION: it is not advisable to give both wormers at the same time. I give the Ivomec about one month after the second worming with Panacure.

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