Airsac mites live in the airsacs and airways, especially the trachea, but may penetrate to the liver and kidneys. They are tiny mites appearing as small white granules in the airsacs and are easily missed on examination. They cause respiratory problems with anorexia, loss of weight and weakness. The birds sneeze and make whistling respiratory sounds. In severe cases the airsacs contain a tacky liquid and pneumonia and aerocystitis result. The diagnosis is made by finding the mite eggs in the faeces, or by demonstrating the mites in the airsacs at autopsy.
Treatment is difficult, but a vaporising dichlorvos bar (Vapona), hung in the loft and giving off miticidal fumes, may be sufficient. Fairly common in poultry and canaries, the airsac mite is not readily found in racing pigeon lofts.
Taken from Fit To Win
The most complete guide to health, diagnosis and treatment of racing pigeons
By Wim Peters