This report is one of the first studies describing the relationship between the occurrence of Mycoplasma spp. as regards the type of breed and health status of pigeons. The aim of the study was to evaluate the prevalence of Mycoplasma gallisepticum, Mycoplasma synoviae, Mycoplasma columbinum, Mycoplasma columborale, and Mycoplasma columbinasale in Polish populations of racing and ornamental pigeons in the context of their correlation with type of breed and health status. The study was conducted on 179 samples (100 racing and 79 ornamental pigeons) collected from pigeons in different regions of Poland. Tracheal swabs were examined for Mycoplasma spp. using genus-specific PCR. If Mycoplasma spp. were detected, the species were identified by species-specific PCR developed on the 16–23S rRNA intergenic spacer region. Ninety-two of 100 (92%) racing pigeons and 67 of 79 (85%) ornamental pigeons were Mycoplasma spp. positive. None of the tested pigeons were positive for M. gallisetpticum or M. synoviae. The average prevalence of M. columbinum was determined at 49%, M. columborale at 79%, and M. columbinasale at 23% in all birds tested. A single mycoplasma infection was found in 40% of pigeons whereas multiple infections were found in 49% of tested birds. Differences were found in the occurrence of mycoplasmas between racing and ornamental pigeons. Our results have shown a high prevalence of Mycoplasma species both as a single and as multiple infections.
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Vol. 63 • No. 3