Diseases / List of Parasitic Diseases / Disease description:

Feather Lice Infection in Waterfowl

INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL INFORMATION

CLINICAL CHARACTERISTICS & PATHOLOGY

INVESTIGATION & DIAGNOSIS

TREATMENT & CONTROL

SUSCEPTIBILITY & TRANSMISSION

ENVIRONMENT & GEOGRAPHY

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General and References

Disease Summary

WATERFOWL
  •  Lice on feathers. Usually present in low numbers with minimal effect, but may become numerous in debilitated waterfowl.

N.B. Shaft louse Holomenopon leucoxanthom causes wet-feather (Wet Feather) (B10.26.w11).

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Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Chewing Lice Infection
  • Mallophaga Infection

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Disease Type

 Parasitic - Insects, Mites and Ticks 

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Infectious/Non-Infectious Agent associated with the Disease

Feather lice, Mallophaga; both Amblycera and Ischnocera. Each waterfowl species may have its own species (B9.6.w1, B24, B48.19.w19).

Infective "Taxa"

Non-infective agents

--

Physical agents

-- Indirect / Secondary

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References

Disease Author

Debra Bourne
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Major References / Reviews

Code and Title List

B9.6.w1, B10.26.w11, B13.46.w1, B18, B24, B37.x.w1, B48.19.w19
J1.21.w4
J43.64.w1
P4.1992.w1

Other References

Code and Title List

J1.13.w6, J1.13.w7, J1.17.w6

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Clinical Characteristics and Pathology

Detailed Clinical and Pathological Characteristics

General

WATERFOWL
  • Usually no clinical signs. Heavy infections may develop in debilitated birds and may then cause irritation and contribute to ill health.

N.B. Shaft louse Holomenopon leucoxanthom causes wet-feather (Wet Feather) (B10.26.w11).

Clinical Characteristics

WATERFOWL  Usually no clinical signs and present in only very low numbers. May become numerous in debilitated birds, particularly in birds which have stopped preening, and may then cause severe irritation, and further debility. Irritation due to heavy infestations may cause excessive preening (B10.26.w11, B13.46.w1, B18, B37.x.w1, B48.19.w19).

Incubation

WATERFOWL --

Mortality / Morbidity

WATERFOWL  Heavy infections in debilitated birds may contribute to illness and death (B18).

Pathology

WATERFOWL --
Systems affected by the disease WATERFOWL -

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Human Health Considerations

--

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Susceptibility / Transmission

General information on Susceptibility / Transmission

WATERFOWL Susceptibility:
  • May be seen in all species; particularly common in swans.
  • Greater prevalence may be noted in juveniles than adults.
  • Louse numbers may increase dramatically on debilitated hosts.

Transmission

  • Direct contact.

(J1.21.w4, P4.1992.w1, B24, B37.x.w1, B48.19.w19)

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Disease / Agent has been reported in either the wild or in captivity in:

Presence of lice reported on:
  • All swans except Coscoroba swan (B9.6.w1) (but see below).
  • Anaticola anseris and Anaticola crassicornis on ducks, Trinoton anserinum (= Trinoton anseris) on ducks and swans (B24).
  • Wild cinnamon teal Anas cyanoptera in southwest Texas, USA (J1.13.w6).
  • Wild northern shoveler Anas clypeata in southwest Texas, USA (J1.13.w7).
  • Wild green-winged teal Anas crecca in southwest Texas, USA (J1.17.w6).
  • 54% of wood ducks Aix sponsa in the Atlantic Flyway, USA (J1.21.w4).
  • Holomenopon goliath on magpie goose Anseranas semipalmata from Australia;
  • Holomenopon bohmi on Coscoroba swan Coscoroba coscoroba
  • Holomenopon leucoxanthum (see also: wet-feather (Wet Feather)) on plumed whistling-duck Dendrocygna eytoni, wandering whistling-duck Dendrocygna arcuata, Fulvous whistling-duck Dendrocygna bicolor, lesser whistling-duck Dendrocygna javanica, white-faced whistling-duck Dendrocygna viduata, greylag goose Anser anser, Canada goose Branta canadensis, radjah shelduck Tadorna radja, common shelduck Tadorna tadorna, mallard Anas plathyrhynchos, Pacific black duck Anas superciliosa, common (green-winged) teal Anas crecca, gadwall Anas strepera, American wigeon Anas americana, cinnamon teal Anas cyanoptera, northern shoveler Anas clypeata, red-creasted pochard Netta rufina, southern pochard Netta erythrophthalma, canvasback Aythya valisineria, common pochard Aythya ferina, redhead Aythya americana, hardhead Aythya australis, ring-necked duck Aythya collaris, tufted duck Aythya fuligula, lesser scaup Aythya affinis, greater scaup Aythya marila, comb duck Sarkidiornis melanotos, black scoter Melanitta nigra, long-tailed duck (oldsquaw) Clangula hyemalis, bufflehead Bucephala albeola, ruddy duck Oxyura jamaicensis;
    Holomenopon setigerum on common (green-winged) teal Anas crecca, gadwall Anas strepera, garganey Anas querquedula, blue-winged teal Anas discors, cinnamon teal Anas cyanoptera, Cape shoveler Anas smithii, northern shoveler Anas clypeata, maned duck Chenonetta jubata, white-winged duck Cairina scutulata;
  • Holomenopon acutae on northern pintail Anas acuta, cape teal Anas capensis; (J43.64.w1).
  • Holomenopon clauseni on blue-winged teal Anas discors, wood duck Aix sponsa; (J43.64.w1).
  • Holomenopon tumidum on spur-winged goose Plectropterus gambiensis; (J43.64.w1).
  • Holomenopon brevithoracium on black-necked swan Cygnus melanocoryphus, ruddy-headed goose Chloephaga rubidiceps, upland goose Chloephaga picta; (J43.64.w1).
  • Holomenopon bucephalae on common goldeneye Bucephala clangula and bufflehead Bucephala albeola, (J43.64.w1).
  • Holomenopon tadornae on brent goose Branta bernicla, Andean goose Chloephaga melanoptera, Egyptian goose Alopochen aegyptiacus, ruddy shelduck Tadorna ferruginea, common shelduck Tadorna tadorna; (J43.64.w1).
  • Holomenopon transvaalense on mallard Anas platyrhynchos; (J43.64.w1).
  • Holomenopon obscurum on radjah shelduck Tadorna radjah; (J43.64.w1).
  • Holomenopon cairinae on muscovy duck Cairina moschata; (J43.64.w1).
  • Holomenopon clypeilargum on American black duck Anas rubripes, yellow-billed duck Anas undulata, speckled teal Anas flavirostris, common (green-winged) teal Anas crecca, gadwall Anas strepera, Eurasian wigeon Anas penelope, American wigeon Anas americana, northern pintail Anas acuta, gargany Anas querquedula, blue-winged teal Anas discors, cinnamon teal Anas cyanoptera, northern shoveler Anas clypeata, canvasback Anas valisineria, ring-necked duck Aythya collaris, New Zealand scaup Aythya novaeseelandiae, greater scaup Aythya marila, hooded merganser Lophodytes (Mergus) cucullatus, common merganser Mergus merganser; (J43.64.w1).
  • Holomenopon loomisii on common eider Somateria mollissima, king eider Somateria spectabilis, white-winged scoter Melanitta fusca, red-breasted merganser Mergus serrator (J43.64.w1).

WATERFOWL Host Species List

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Disease / Agent has been specifically reported in Free-ranging populations of:

Presence of feather lice recorded on :
  • Wild cinnamon teal Anas cyanoptera in southwest Texas, USA (J1.13.w6).
  • Wild northern shoveler Anas clypeata in southwest Texas, USA (J1.13.w7).
  • Wild green-winged teal Anas crecca in southwest Texas, USA (J1.17.w6).
  • Wild wood ducks Aix sponsa in the Atlantic Flyway, USA (J1.21.w4).

WATERFOWL Host Species List

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Environment/Geography

General Information on Environmental Factors/Events and Seasonality

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Regions / Countries where the Infectious Agent or Disease has been recorded

  • USA (J1.21.w4).
  • Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Taiwan, USA, Thailand, Canada, Switzerland, UK, Iceland, Colombia, Kenya, British Guyana, Sweden, South Africa, India, Uganda, East Africa, Israel, Transvaal, Paraguay, Falkland Islands, Congo, Sudan, Cameroons, Uganda, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Egypt, Kenya, Hungary, Lapland (J43.64.w1).

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Regions / Countries where the Infectious Agent or Disease has been recorded in Free-ranging populations

USA (J1.21.w4).

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General Investigation / Diagnosis

General Information on Investigation / Diagnosis

WATERFOWL Visual examination: black or brown cigar-shaped lice, 2-8mm long, moving around feather vanes, or eggs (B13.46.w1, B37.x.w1).
Related Techniques
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Similar Diseases (Differential Diagnosis)

WATERFOWL Further investigation is necessary with heavy infections, to find the underlying cause of debility (B37.x.w1).

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Treatment and Control

Specific Medical Treatment

WATERFOWL Dust with 5% carbaryl powder (P4.1992.w1, B13.46.w1, B37.x.w1). Ivermectin (B37.x.w1).
Related Techniques
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General Nursing and Surgical Techniques

WATERFOWL --
Related Techniques

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Preventative Measures

Vaccination WATERFOWL --
Prophylactic Treatment

WATERFOWL

Maintaining healthy birds is the best method of controlling lice (B48.19.w19).
Related Techniques

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Environmental and Population Control Measures

General Environment Changes, Cleaning and Disinfection

WATERFOWL

Ensure sufficient water is always available for waterfowl to throw water over their backs while preening (B18).
Population Control Measures WATERFOWL --
Isolation, Quarantine and Screening WATERFOWL --
Related Techniques
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