Lifecycle of worms & air sac mites / Ideal treatment cycle?

Is your finch sick or not well? Find out why.
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Finchy
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07 Feb 2012, 15:11

Hi

Does anyone happen to know the lifecycle of common finch worms and airsac mites? I'm wondering whether treating an outdoor aviary 3 x a year (every 4 months) is sufficient to protect the birds, or if 4 x a year (every 3 months) would be better? I'm using a Moxidectin + Praziquantel product like (I believe) Cydectin Plus.

I really don't want to over-treat with these pesticides but I don't want to leave the birds vulnerable either, so I'm wondering if anyone has the science (or their own microscope slides) on how long it takes for worms or air sac mites to seriously take hold.
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maz
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07 Feb 2012, 18:40

Just did a quick google search and for air sac mites I found figures of between 6 and 21 days
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Myzomela
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10 Feb 2012, 08:06

Hi Finchy,

I think I'll regret this somehow but here goes.

1) Air sac mites- no body really knows the complete life-cycle but it is assumed that infected parents pass the mite onto the chicks when feeding them; adults are infected through contaminated food and water and also by coughing or sneezing.
2) Gizzardworm ( Acuaria) and tapeworms are the 2 most common worms in finches in Australia. These have what is called an indirect life-cycle, meaning that a finch has to eat an infected insect in order for the bird to get infected. Generally the adult worms lay eggs which pass in the bird's droppings. The infected droppings are eaten by passing insects. The worm eggs hatch inside the insect, may moult inside the insect, and at this stage are infective to birds if the insect is eaten. Once inside the bird the insect moults again into the adult. Tapeworms tend to live in the small intestine; Gizzardworms in the gizzard but under the gizzard lining ( koilin) not on the gizzard surface.

Other worms which also infect finches include roundworms (ascarids), hairworms ( Capillaria) and gapeworm ( Syngamus trachea). Roundworms have direct life-cycles (ie birds can be infected by eating infected droppings/seed etc), gapeworms have indirect lifecycles. Capillaria can have a direct life-cycle, or can be carried by some invertebrates/insects in which they do not moult but just exist- known as "transport hosts".

The life-cycles of these parasites can vary between 3-6 weeks in general.
Last edited by Myzomela on 10 Feb 2012, 08:18, edited 1 time in total.
Research; evaluate;observe;act
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Myzomela
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10 Feb 2012, 08:17

Now for the treament.

I think this has been discussed previously but basically the treatment frequency depends on your housing and husbandry.

If you have large planted flights with wet floors then you are potentially going to have an ongoing battle. All the conditions favour the survival of the worm eggs and the presence of wild insects. Therefore, you can only ever hope to control the problem, not eliminate it. Therefore you will need to treat more frequently- ie 4x a year or even every 6 weeks. You can help this by improving drainage within the aviary and keeping your stocking density down.

If however you have indoor, dry aviaries at the other extreme, and treat your birds in quarantine ( twice, 2-3 weeks apart), and you spray the environment regularly with an insecticide, then you may only have to worm once or twice a year or possibly not at all. In this case I just do a regular faecal check to ensure that there are no worm eggs in the droppings, but finding tapeworm this way can be a little hit and miss.

Air sac mites appear to live largely on the bird so if you treat the birds twice 2 weeks apart then hopefully you will eliminate any infections. However, some birds are definitely carriers so if you have repeated bouts of infection in your aviary then I would cull any repeat offenders as they are likely to be the source of your problem.

If the moxidectin in water is not controlling your air sac mite, then applying some topically on the skin or using ivomec mixed in alcohol topically may be more effective. Fincho has already described how to do this previously.

Just be aware not to use ivermectin and moxidectin at the same time as they are related drugs and you may cause a toxicity. I would allow at least a week between the two products.

Hope this helps.
Research; evaluate;observe;act
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Finchy
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10 Feb 2012, 08:23

Wow, Myzo, that's more than I had expected! You're a star. Thank you for that excellent education. :)
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Myzomela
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10 Feb 2012, 09:06

No problem Finchy, glad you found it useful!
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natamambo
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10 Feb 2012, 09:40

Mods, this should be made a sticky. Great article Myzo.
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mattymeischke
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10 Feb 2012, 09:48

Hear, hear :clap:
Top work Myzo, cheers.
Avid amateur aviculturalist; I keep mostly australian and foreign finches.
The art is long, the life so short; the critical moment is fleeting and experience can be misleading, crisis is difficult....... (Hippocrates)
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mickw
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28 Feb 2012, 23:24

Great work Myzo, its truelly an honour to have you, Danny and so many other learned souls here to draw upon.

So, Matty, time for you to share your wisdoms :shifty: ........I have this lump........ :lol: ...........and a constant urge to consume whole bottles of red wine.............. :wtf:
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finchbreeder
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29 Feb 2012, 11:33

My doctor says red wine is good for you, and consuming a glass or 2 every day or 2 will keep the ticker ticking better. So of course I find it necessary to obey doctors instructions. :thumbup:
LML

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