Endeavour Veterinary Ecology Pty Ltd

Australia

Endeavour Veterinary Ecology Pty Ltd

Australia
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Burach F.,University of Zürich | Pospischil A.,University of Zürich | Hanger J.,Endeavour Veterinary Ecology Pty Ltd | Loader J.,Endeavour Veterinary Ecology Pty Ltd | And 3 more authors.
Veterinary Microbiology | Year: 2014

Chlamydial infections in koalas can cause life-threatening diseases leading to blindness and sterility. However, little is known about the systemic spread of chlamydiae in the inner organs of the koala, and data concerning related pathological organ lesions are limited. The aim of this study was to perform a thorough investigation of organs from 23 koalas and to correlate their histopathological lesions to molecular chlamydial detection. To reach this goal, 246 formalin-fixed and paraffin embedded organ samples from 23 koalas were investigated by histopathology, Chlamydiaceae real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry, ArrayTube Microarray for Chlamydiaceae species identification as well as Chlamydiales real-time PCR and sequencing. By PCR, two koalas were positive for Chlamydia pecorum whereas immunohistochemical labelling for Chlamydiaceae was detected in 10 tissues out of nine koalas. The majority of these (n= 6) had positive labelling in the urogenital tract related to histopathological lesions such as cystitis, endometritis, pyelonephritis and prostatitis. Somehow unexpected was the positive labelling in the gastrointestinal tract including the cloaca as well as in lung and spleen indicating systemic spread of infection. Uncultured Chlamydiales were detected in several organs of seven koalas by PCR, and four of these suffered from plasmacytic enteritis of unknown aetiology. Whether the finding of Chlamydia-like organisms in the gastrointestinal tract is linked to plasmacytic enteritis is unclear and remains speculative. However, as recently shown in a mouse model, the gastrointestinal tract might play a role being the site for persistent chlamydial infections and being a source for reinfection of the genital tract. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Kollipara A.,Queensland University of Technology | Polkinghorne A.,Queensland University of Technology | Wan C.,Queensland University of Technology | Kanyoka P.,Queensland University of Technology | And 9 more authors.
Veterinary Microbiology | Year: 2013

The long term survival of the koala ( Phascolarctos cinereus) is at risk due to a range of threatening processes. A major contributing factor is disease caused by infection with Chlamydia pecorum, which has been detected in most mainland koala populations and is associated with ocular and genital tract infections. A critical aspect for the development of vaccines against koala chlamydial infections is a thorough understanding of the prevalence and strain diversity of C. pecorum infections across wild populations. In this study, we describe the largest survey (403 koalas from eight wild populations and three wildlife hospitals) examining the diversity of C. pecorum infections. 181 of the 403 koalas tested (45%) positive for C. pecorum by species-specific quantitative PCR with infection rates ranging from 20% to 61% in the eight wild populations sampled. The ompA gene, which encodes the chlamydial major outer membrane protein (MOMP), has been the major target of several chlamydial vaccines. Based on our analysis of the diversity of MOMP amino types in the infected koalas, we conclude that, (a) there exists significant diversity of C. pecorum strains in koalas, with 10 distinct, full length C. pecorum MOMP amino types identified in the 11 koala locations sampled, (b) despite this diversity, there are predicted T and B cell epitopes in both conserved as well as variable domains of MOMP which suggest cross-amino type immune responses, and (c) a recombinant MOMP-based vaccine consisting of MOMP "F" could potentially induce heterotypic protection against a range of C. pecorum strains. © 2013 .


Desclozeaux M.,University of The Sunshine Coast | Robbins A.,Endeavour Veterinary Ecology Pty Ltd | Jelocnik M.,University of The Sunshine Coast | Khan S.A.,University of The Sunshine Coast | And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2017

We assessed the effects of two different single-dose anti-Chlamydia pecorum (C. pecorum) vaccines (containing either Major Outer Membrane Protein (3MOMP) or Polymorphic Membrane Protein (Pmp) as antigens) on the immune response of a group of wild koalas. Both vaccines elicited a systemic humoral response as seen by the production of anti-chlamydial IgG antibodies in more than 90% of vaccinated koalas. A mucosal immune response was also observed, with an increase in Chlamydia-specific mucosal IgG and/or IgA antibodies in some koalas post-vaccination. Both vaccines elicited a cell-mediated immune response as measured by the production of the cytokines IFN-γ and IL-17 post-vaccination. To determine the level of protection provided by the vaccines under natural conditions we assessed C. pecorum infection loads and chlamydial disease status of all vaccinated koalas pre-and post-vaccination, compared to a non-vaccinated cohort from the same habitat. The MOMP vaccinated koalas that were infected on the day of vaccination showed significant clearance of their infection at 6 months post-vaccination. In contrast, the number of new infections in the PMP vaccine was similar to the control group, with some koalas progressing to disease. Genotyping of the ompA gene from the C. pecorum strains infecting the vaccinated animals, identified genetic variants of ompA-F genotype and a new genotype ompA-O. We found that those animals that were the least well protected became infected with strains of C. pecorum not covered by the vaccine. In conclusion, a single dose vaccine formulated with either recombinant PmpG or MOMP can elicit both cell-mediated and humoral (systemic and mucosal) immune responses, with the MOMP vaccine showing clearance of infection in all infected koalas. Although the capability of our vaccines to stimulate an adaptive response and be protective needs to be fully evaluated, this work illustrates the necessity to combine epitopes most relevant to a large panel of variable strains with an efficient adjuvant. © 2017 Desclozeaux et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Burnard D.,University of The Sunshine Coast | Weaver H.,Australian Antarctic Division | Gillett A.,Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital | Loader J.,Endeavour Veterinary Ecology Pty Ltd | And 2 more authors.
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2017

Background: Members of the order Chlamydiales are known for their potential as human and veterinary bacterial pathogens. Despite this recognition, epidemiological factors such as routes of transmission are yet to be fully defined. Ticks are well known vectors for many other infections with several reports recently describing the presence of bacteria in the order Chlamydiales in these arthropods. Australian wildlife are hosts to an extensive range of tick species. Evidence is also growing that the marsupial hosts these ticks parasitise can also be infected by a number of bacteria in the order Chlamydiales, with at least one species, Chlamydia pecorum, posing a significant conservation threat. In the current study, we investigated the presence and identity of Chlamydiales in 438 ixodid ticks parasitizing wildlife in Australia by screening with a pan-Chlamydiales specific targeting the 16S rRNA gene. Results: Pan-Chlamydiales specific PCR assays confirmed the common presence of Chlamydiales in Australian ticks parasitising a range of native wildlife. Interestingly, we did not detect any Chlamydiaceae, including C. pecorum, the ubiquitous pathogen of the koala. Instead, the Chlamydiales diversity that could be resolved indicated that Australian ticks carry at least six novel Chlamydiales genotypes. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA sequences (663 bp) of these novel Chlamydiales suggests that three of these genotypes are associated with the Simkaniaceae and putatively belong to three distinct novel strains of Fritschea spp. and three genotypes are related to the "Ca. Rhabdochlamydiaceae" and putatively belong to a novel genus, Rhabdochlamydia species and strain, respectively. Conclusions: Sequence results suggest Australian wildlife ticks harbour a range of unique Chlamydiales bacteria that belong to families previously identified in a range of arthropod species. The results of this work also suggest that it is unlikely that arthropods act as vectors of pathogenic members of the family Chlamydiaceae, including C. pecorum, in Australian wildlife. The biology of novel Chlamydiales identified in arthropods remain unknown. The pathogenic role of the novel Chlamydiales identified in this study and the role that ticks may play in their transmission needs to be explored further. © 2017 The Author(s).


Tribe A.,University of Queensland | Hanger J.,Endeavour Veterinary Ecology Pty Ltd | McDonald I.J.,University of Queensland | Loader J.,Endeavour Veterinary Ecology Pty Ltd | And 3 more authors.
Animals | Year: 2014

Traditionally, culling has been the expedient, most common, and in many cases, the only tool used to control free-ranging kangaroo populations. We applied a reproductive control program to a population of eastern grey kangaroos confined to a golf course in South East Queensland. The program aimed to reduce fecundity sufficiently for the population to decrease over time so that overgrazing of the fairways and the frequency of human-animal conflict situations were minimised. In 2003, 92% of the female kangaroos above 5 kg bodyweight were implanted with the GnRH agonist deslorelin after darting with a dissociative anaesthetic. In 2007, 86% of the females above 5 kg were implanted with deslorelin and also 87% of the males above 5 kg were sterilised by either orchidectomy or vasectomy. In 2005, 2008 and 2009, the population was censused to assess the effect of each treatment. The 2003 deslorelin program resulted in effective zero population growth for approximately 2.5 years. The combined deslorelin-surgery program in 2007 reduced the birth rate from 0.3 to 0.06%/year for 16 months, resulting in a 27% population reduction by November 2009. The results were consistent with implants conferring contraception to 100% of implanted females for at least 12 months. The iatrogenic mortality rates for each program were 10.5% and 4.9%, respectively, with 50% of all mortalities due to darting-related injuries, exertional myopathy/hyperthermia or recovery misadventure. The short term sexual and agonistic behaviour of the males was assessed for the 2007 program: no significant changes were seen in adult males given the vasectomy procedure, while sexual behaviours’ were decreased in adult males given the orchidectomy procedure. It is concluded that female reproduction was effectively controlled by implantation with deslorrelin and male reproductive behaviour was reduced by orchidectomy, which together achieved population control. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Hobbs M.,Australian Museum Research Institute | Pavasovic A.,Queensland University of Technology | King A.G.,Australian Museum Research Institute | Prentis P.J.,Queensland University of Technology | And 12 more authors.
BMC Genomics | Year: 2014

Background: The koala, Phascolarctos cinereus, is a biologically unique and evolutionarily distinct Australian arboreal marsupial. The goal of this study was to sequence the transcriptome from several tissues of two geographically separate koalas, and to create the first comprehensive catalog of annotated transcripts for this species, enabling detailed analysis of the unique attributes of this threatened native marsupial, including infection by the koala retrovirus. Results: RNA-Seq data was generated from a range of tissues from one male and one female koala and assembled de novo into transcripts using Velvet-Oases. Transcript abundance in each tissue was estimated. Transcripts were searched for likely protein-coding regions and a non-redundant set of 117,563 putative protein sequences was produced. In similarity searches there were 84,907 (72%) sequences that aligned to at least one sequence in the NCBI nr protein database. The best alignments were to sequences from other marsupials. After applying a reciprocal best hit requirement of koala sequences to those from tammar wallaby, Tasmanian devil and the gray short-tailed opossum, we estimate that our transcriptome dataset represents approximately 15,000 koala genes. The marsupial alignment information was used to look for potential gene duplications and we report evidence for copy number expansion of the alpha amylase gene, and of an aldehyde reductase gene. Koala retrovirus (KoRV) transcripts were detected in the transcriptomes. These were analysed in detail and the structure of the spliced envelope gene transcript was determined. There was appreciable sequence diversity within KoRV, with 233 sites in the KoRV genome showing small insertions/deletions or single nucleotide polymorphisms. Both koalas had sequences from the KoRV-A subtype, but the male koala transcriptome has, in addition, sequences more closely related to the KoRV-B subtype. This is the first report of a KoRV-B-like sequence in a wild population. Conclusions: This transcriptomic dataset is a useful resource for molecular genetic studies of the koala, for evolutionary genetic studies of marsupials, for validation and annotation of the koala genome sequence, and for investigation of koala retrovirus. Annotated transcripts can be browsed and queried at http://koalagenome.org. © 2014 Hobbs et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Wilson D.P.,University of New South Wales | Craig A.P.,University of New South Wales | Hanger J.,Endeavour Veterinary Ecology Pty. Ltd | Timms P.,University of The Sunshine Coast | Timms P.,Queensland University of Technology
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2015

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations in the wild are in sharp decline in Australia due to deforestation, road accidents, dog attacks, and disease from infection with sexually transmitted Chlamydia spp. Severely diseased koalas that are captured are euthanized for humane reasons because antibiotics are not effective. Paradoxically, we propose that euthanizing more koalas could help to increase koala population numbers. We investigated the potential impact of systematically euthanizing diseased koalas. Using data from a well-studied koala population, and an individual-based computer simulation model, we predict that such a program would result in a larger population of koalas after 7 yr than would exist without the program. If terminally diseased and sterile koalas are euthanized and other infected captured koalas are given antibiotics, chlamydial infection could be eliminated and population growth observed after 4 yr. The practical implementation of such a program would be facilitated with further development of tools to diagnose infection and internal disease in the field. © Wildlife Disease Association 2015.


Khan S.A.,Queensland University of Technology | Khan S.A.,Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University | Desclozeaux M.,University of The Sunshine Coast | Waugh C.,University of The Sunshine Coast | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Developing a vaccine against Chlamydia is key to combating widespread mortalities and morbidities associated with this infection in koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus). In previous studies, we have shown that two or three doses of a Recombinant Major Outer Membrane Protein (rMOMP) antigen-based vaccine, combined with immune stimulating complex (ISC) adjuvant, results in strong cellular and humoral immune responses in koalas. We have also separately evaluated a single dose vaccine, utilising a tri-adjuvant formula that comprises polyphosphazine based poly I: C and host defense peptides, with the same antigen. This formulation also produced strong cellular and humoral immune responses in captive koalas. In this current study, we directly compared the host immune responses of two sub-groups of wild Chlamydia negative koalas in one population vaccinated with the rMOMP protein antigen and adjuvanted with either the ISC or tri-adjuvant formula. Overall, both adjuvants produced strong Chlamydia-specific cellular (IFN-γ and IL-17A) responses in circulating PBMCs as well as MOMP-specific and functional, in vitro neutralising antibodies. While the immune responses were similar, there were adjuvant-specific immune differences between the two adjuvants, particularly in relation to the specificity of the MOMP epitope antibody responses. © 2016 Khan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Khan S.A.,Queensland University of Technology | Khan S.A.,Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University | Polkinghorne A.,Queensland University of Technology | Polkinghorne A.,University of The Sunshine Coast | And 6 more authors.
Vaccine | Year: 2016

The development of a vaccine is a key strategy to combat the widespread and debilitating effects of chlamydial infection in koalas. One such vaccine in development uses recombinant chlamydial major outer membrane protein (rMOMP) as an antigen and has shown promising results in several koala trials. Previous chlamydial vaccine studies, primarily in the mouse model, suggest that both cell-mediated and antibody responses will be required for adequate protection. Recently, the important protective role of antibodies has been highlighted. In our current study, we conducted a detailed analysis of the antibody-mediated immune response in koalas that are either (a) naturally-infected, and/or (b) had received an rMOMP vaccine. Firstly, we observed that naturally-infected koalas had very low levels of Chlamydia pecorum-specific neutralising antibodies. A strong correlation between low IgG total titers/neutralising antibody levels, and higher C. pecorum infection load was also observed in these naturally-infected animals. In vaccinated koalas, we showed that the vaccine was able to boost the humoral immune response by inducing strong levels of C. pecorum-specific neutralising antibodies. A detailed characterisation of the MOMP epitope response was also performed in naturally-infected and vaccinated koalas using a PepScan epitope approach. This analysis identified unique sets of MOMP epitope antibodies between naturally-infected non-protected and diseased koalas, versus vaccinated koalas, with the latter group of animals producing a unique set of specific epitope-directed antibodies that we demonstrated were responsible for the in vitro neutralisation activity. Together, these results show the importance of antibodies in chlamydial infection and immunity following vaccination in the koala. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | GreenLeaf Ecology, University of Queensland, Ecosure and Endeavour Veterinary Ecology Pty Ltd
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Animals : an open access journal from MDPI | Year: 2015

Traditionally, culling has been the expedient, most common, and in many cases, the only tool used to control free-ranging kangaroo populations. We applied a reproductive control program to a population of eastern grey kangaroos confined to a golf course in South East Queensland. The program aimed to reduce fecundity sufficiently for the population to decrease over time so that overgrazing of the fairways and the frequency of human-animal conflict situations were minimised. In 2003, 92% of the female kangaroos above 5 kg bodyweight were implanted with the GnRH agonist deslorelin after darting with a dissociative anaesthetic. In 2007, 86% of the females above 5 kg were implanted with deslorelin and also 87% of the males above 5 kg were sterilised by either orchidectomy or vasectomy. In 2005, 2008 and 2009, the population was censused to assess the effect of each treatment. The 2003 deslorelin program resulted in effective zero population growth for approximately 2.5 years. The combined deslorelin-surgery program in 2007 reduced the birth rate from 0.3 to 0.06%/year for 16 months, resulting in a 27% population reduction by November 2009. The results were consistent with implants conferring contraception to 100% of implanted females for at least 12 months. The iatrogenic mortality rates for each program were 10.5% and 4.9%, respectively, with 50% of all mortalities due to darting-related injuries, exertional myopathy/hyperthermia or recovery misadventure. The short term sexual and agonistic behaviour of the males was assessed for the 2007 program: no significant changes were seen in adult males given the vasectomy procedure, while sexual behaviours were decreased in adult males given the orchidectomy procedure. It is concluded that female reproduction was effectively controlled by implantation with deslorrelin and male reproductive behaviour was reduced by orchidectomy, which together achieved population control.

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