Fact Sheets



Trichomononsis (also commonly known as trichomoniasis, canker, or frounce) is an infectious disease of many bird species (typically doves and pigeons, raptors, and passerines - particularly finches) caused by the microscopic parasite Trichomonas gallinae. The parasite often infects the upper digestive tract, as well as the liver, lungs, air sacs, internal lining of the body, pancreas, bones, and the sinuses of the skull. This parasite does not pose a health risk to humans or other mammals (e.g. cats and dogs), however, it does pose a risk to captive birds (e.g. domestic poultry and pet birds). Trichomonosis is an infectious disease caused by the parasite Trichomonas gallinae. Trichomonosis was first documented in wild birds in Atlantic Canada in 2007, and it has been encountered regularly in the purple finch and American goldfinch populations in the region since that time.

Trichomonosis can potentially be transmitted among birds through food or water contaminated with recently regurgitated saliva or droppings from an individual infected with Trichomonas gallinae. Transmission of infection between birds can also occur when infected adults feed nestlings by regurgitating food. Raptors acquire the disease when consuming infected birds as prey. Although under most conditions the parasite is not viable in the environment for long, bird feeders and baths are thought to be potential sites of transmission.

In order to avoid facilitating the transmission of the disease during known outbreak of trichomonosis, it is suggested that you remove bird feeders and baths for at least two weeks to disperse birds and reduce the likelihood of transmission. During the summer months there is plenty of natural food and water available for birds. Clean your bird feeders and baths regularly. A weak solution of domestic bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite) should be used to disinfect feeders and baths. Feeders should be rinsed well and dried before re-use. Only use bird feeders that prevent the seed from getting wet. Bird seed that is exposed to rain and becomes wet is a more suitable environment for the potential survival of the parasite. Do not use table feeders as they do not protect food from becoming wet and allow sick birds to sit directly on the bird seed making it more likely the food will be contaminated with Trichomonas gallinae. Report any sick or dead birds to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative.


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This map represents the approximate locations of incidents of sick and dead birds based on reports submitted to the CWHC by the public. These incidents are represented on the map as either probable (green markers) or suspect (red markers) cases as defined below.

Probable Cases: Appropriate species based on past outbreaks (i.e. purple finch, American goldfinch, pine siskin, and Rock pigeons) and gross examination of the specimen at our Atlantic RegionalCentre to identify lesions consistent with trichomonosis (these will later be identified as confirmed cases if they have appropriate microscopic lesions). These are identified as green markers on the map.

Suspect Cases: Appropriate species based on past outbreaks and reported clinical signs consistent with trichomonosis (e.g. fluffed up, regurgitating food or water, unable to fly, drooling, matted wet feathers on head and breast and food debris at corners of the beak). These cases are reported by the general public to our Centre but no specimen is submitted for post mortem examination. They are identified as red markers on the map.