• A viral disease which attacks the skin and / or mucous membrane
  • Generally carried between birds through saliva.  The virus can gain entry through minute breaks in the skin or mouth lining (often caused by being pecked), possibly through shared feed and water, or transmitted by mosquitoes through bites
  • Pigeon pox cannot infect humans
  • Woodpigeons appear to be especially badly afflicted if they contract the virus


  • Birds may show scabby or crusty lesions (the ‘pocks’) on unfeathered parts such as the beak, around eyes, on feet
  • In the beak or throat cavity there may be cheesy-looking, foul smelling ‘growths’ (known as the mucousal form). These can be confused with canker growths for the inexperienced, particularly if no outer skin lesions are seen, so a veterinary diagnosis should be obtained
  • .Birds may appear otherwise well, unless lesions in the mouth interfere with feeding or breathing


  • There is no anti-viral treatment as such, but a vet may prescribe an antibiotic to combat any secondary infections
  • Vitamin A can help to promote healing of skin lesions
  • Do not attempt to remove lesions inside the mouth – thiey are actually outgrowths of the skin – as this is likely to cause severe bleeding


  • Pigeons may be vaccinated against pox – this may be done in combination with vaccination against PMV. Pox vaccination is possible from as early as six weeks old
  • Treat any cuts and abrasions seen on a bird
  • Strict hygeine
  • In climates where mosquitoes are a problem, ensure they can be excluded from pigeon living quarters