Detection of Mycoplasma columbinasale in Cases of Respiratory Disease in Domestic Pigeons (Columba livia var. domestica)

Giuseppe Giglia*, Ilaria Porcellato, Maria Luisa Marenzoni, Elisa Rampacci, Marco Bottinelli, Andrea Matucci, Fabrizio Passamonti, Elvio Lepri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In 2017, respiratory disease and low mortality were reported in domestic flying pigeons (Columba livia var. domestica) trained as hunting live bait in a breeding farm in Umbria, Italy. Clinically, open beak breathing, dropped wings, and pharyngeal and laryngeal hyperaemia were observed. Three birds were submitted for necropsy. Gross pathological evaluation revealed in all cases diffuses hyperaemia of the tracheal mucosa in association with mild emaciation and multiorgan congestion. Microscopically, diffuse epithelial hyperplasia of the trachea (n = 3) and diffuse lymphocytic infiltration of the lamina propria (n = 3) were observed. No lesions were reported in other organs. Based on reported clinical signs and lesions, Mycoplasma spp. were suspected, and molecular detection was performed on tracheal specimens leading to the identification of Mycoplasma columbinasale. Immunohistochemistry was subsequently performed to localize the microorganism within tissue lesions. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the presence of Mycoplasma species on the tracheal epithelial cells of all birds. Following tylosin administration, complete resolution of the clinical condition and lack of recurrence of clinical signs were reported in the breeding farm. These findings suggest that M. columbinasale could potentially have a role in the respiratory disease and low mortality in domestic pigeons.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3950684
Number of pages5
JournalCase Reports in Veterinary Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2022


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