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Ruykys L.,University of Adelaide | Breed B.,University of Adelaide | Schultz D.,Royal Zoological Society of South Australia | Taggart D.,University of Adelaide
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2013

We examined the clinical and cellular effects of sarcoptic mange on southern hairy-nosed wombats (SHNW, Lasiorhinus latifrons) and the effectiveness of a single dose of ivermectin as a treatment for captive and wild animals. Wambats were caught at three sites in South Australia between April and August 2005 and blood and skin samples were collected. Hematology, biochemistry, and protein electrophoresis reference intervals were determined for healthy and diseased SHNW. Diseased SHNW had significantly higher white blood cell counts, neutrophils, lymphocytes, and total protein but lower red blood cell counts, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and creatinine. Microscopic investigation indicated substantial hyperplasia, hyperkeratosis, and fluid infiltration into the dermis and epidermis of diseased animals. Conclusions on the efficacy of a single dose of ivermectin were limited by low sample size (n=5, two captive and three wild SHNW) and are preliminary. However, ivermectin effectively treated mild, but not severe, mange in wild SHNW and severe mange in captive animals. This study has implications for the conservation and management of SHNW and the broader Vombatidae family. © Wildlife Disease Association 2013.


Ruykys L.,University of Adelaide | Ward M.J.,Khan Research Laboratories | Taggart D.A.,Royal Zoological Society of South Australia | Breed W.G.,University of Adelaide
Australian Mammalogy | Year: 2011

This study aimed to determine the home range and movement patterns of Petrogale lateralis in the arid-zone Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in the north-west of South Australia. Ten Global Positioning System radio-collars were attached to animals, with collars programmed to function in 2008-09. Catastrophic collar failure resulted in only 28 days of data, from July 2008, being retrieved from one adult female. During this time, the female occupied a 90% kernel range of 57.9ha and core (50%) range of 9.3ha. The animal moved a total of 50.8km and undertook three journeys of over 1km. The longest of these was 1.2km, undertaken in 89min. The high mobility of the study animal has implications for management, particularly predator baiting and fire management strategies. Future research should assess the validity of these results by increasing sample size and conducting similar work for other arid-zone P. lateralis. The lessons learnt from the current GPS collar deployment may also be of interest to other researchers. © 2011 Australian Mammal Society.


Ruykys L.,University of Adelaide | Rich B.,Royal Zoological Society of South Australia | Mccarthy P.,Royal Zoological Society of South Australia
Australian Veterinary Journal | Year: 2012

Objective: Use haematology, biochemistry and protein electrophoresis analyses to establish reference values for, and describe the health status of, wild and captive colonies of critically endangered warru (black-footed rock-wallaby: Petrogale lateralis MacDonnell Ranges race). Methods: Blood samples were taken from warru in three wild colonies (Alalka, Kalka, New Well) in the A nangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in north-west South Australia (SA) and from captive animals at Monarto Zoo, SA. General haematology, serum biochemistry and protein electrophoresis analyses were conducted and results used to establish reference ranges. For the parameters that are indicative of a population's health, comparisons among the study sites were completed using analysis of variance. Results: General haematology results suggested that warru were not experiencing chronic anaemia and the protein electrophoresis values indicated that colonies were not suffering from population-wide disease. However, the lower superoxide dismutase, retinol, total carotenoids and ascorbic acid values for New Well warru suggested those animals had a lower plane of nutrition than those at Kalka and Alalka. Higher urea concentrations in New Well and Alalka warru could be a reflection of the absence of reliable free water at these sites. Conclusion: The results have implications for the management of in situ colonies, including potentially using supplementary feeding to improve nutrition, and suggested that these animals were not suffering from disease. The study presents the first blood reference values for P. lateralis and, potentially, a methodology for other threatened species recovery programs to follow to establish the health of their populations. © 2012 Australian Veterinary Association.


West R.,University of New South Wales | West R.,University of Adelaide | Read J.L.,Ecological Horizons | Ward M.J.,Water and Natural Resources | And 2 more authors.
ORYX | Year: 2016

Reintroduction practitioners must often make critical decisions about reintroduction protocols despite having little understanding of the reintroduction biology of the focal species. To enhance the available knowledge on the reintroduction biology of the warru, or black-footed rock-wallaby Petrogale lateralis MacDonnell Ranges race, we conducted a trial reintroduction of 16 captive individuals into a fenced predator and competitor exclosure on the An̲angu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in South Australia. We conducted seven trapping sessions and used radio-tracking and camera traps to monitor survival, reproduction and recruitment to the population over 36 months. Blood samples were collected pre-release and during two trapping sessions post-release to assess nutritional health. The survival rate of founders was 63%, with all losses occurring within 10 weeks of release. Post-release blood biochemistry indicated that surviving warru adapted to their new environment and food sources. Female warru conceived within 6 months of release; 28 births were recorded during the study period and 52% of births successfully recruited to the population. Our results suggest that captive-bred warru are capable of establishing and persisting in the absence of introduced predators. However, the high mortality rate immediately post-release, with only a modest recruitment rate, suggests that future releases into areas where predators and competitors are present should use a trial approach to determine the viability of reintroduction. We recommend that future releases of warru into unfenced areas include an intensive monitoring period in the first 3 months post-release followed by a comprehensive long-term monitoring schedule to facilitate effective adaptive management. Copyright © Fauna & Flora International 2016


Byard R.W.,University of Adelaide | Machado A.,Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organization | Braun K.,Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organization | Solomon L.B.,University of Adelaide | Boardman W.,Royal Zoological Society of South Australia
Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology | Year: 2010

Juvenile seals are sometimes encountered in waters around South Australia with injuries and/or diseases that require veterinary treatment. Two cases are reported where apparently stable animals died soon after being rescued due to quite disparate conditions. In Case 1 a juvenile male New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) was found unexpectedly dead in its enclosure. A necropsy examination revealed an emaciated juvenile male with no injuries. The intestine was filled throughout its length with melena stool that was due to heavy infestation of the stomach with roundworms with adjacent gastritis. Death was due to shock from upper gastrointestinal blood loss secondary to parasitosis. In Case 2 a second juvenile male New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) also died unexpectedly in its enclosure. It had been listless with loud respirations since capture. At necropsy there was no blood around the head, neck or mouth, and no acute external injuries were identified. An area of induration was, however, present over the snout with fragmentation of underlying bones. The maxilla was freely mobile and CT scanning revealed multiple comminuted fractures of the adjacent facial skeleton. Examination of the defleshed skull showed fragmentation of the facial skeleton with roughening of bones in keeping with osteomyelitis. Death was attributed to sepsis from osteomyelitis of a comminuted midfacial fracture. These cases demonstrate two unusual and occult conditions that may be present in recently retrieved juvenile fur seals. Failure to establish the correct diagnosis rapidly may result in death soon after capture. The usefulness of imaging techniques such as CT scanning in delineating underlying injuries prior to necropsy is clearly demonstrated. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


Speight K.N.,University of Adelaide | Breed W.G.,University of Adelaide | Boardman W.,University of Adelaide | Taggart D.A.,University of Adelaide | And 3 more authors.
Australian Journal of Zoology | Year: 2013

Oxalate nephrosis is a leading disease of the Mount Lofty Ranges koala population in South Australia, but the cause is unclear. In other herbivorous species, a common cause is high dietary oxalate; therefore this study aimed to determine the oxalate content of eucalypt leaves. Juvenile, semimature and mature leaves were collected during spring from eucalypt species eaten by koalas in the Mount Lofty Ranges and compared with those from Moggill, Queensland, where oxalate nephrosis has lower prevalence. Total oxalate was measured as oxalic acid by high-performance liquid chromatography. The oxalate content of eucalypts was low (<1% dry weight), but occasional Mount Lofty leaf samples had oxalate levels of 4.68-7.51% dry weight. Mount Lofty eucalypts were found to be higher in oxalate than those from Queensland (P<0.001). In conclusion, dietary oxalate in eucalypt leaves is unlikely to be the primary cause of oxalate nephrosis in the Mount Lofty koala population. However, occasional higher oxalate levels could cause oxalate nephrosis in individual koalas or worsen disease in those already affected. Further studies on the seasonal variation of eucalypt leaf oxalate are needed to determine its role in the pathogenesis of oxalate nephrosis in koalas. © 2013 CSIRO.


Speight K.N.,University of Adelaide | Haynes J.I.,University of Adelaide | Boardman W.,University of Adelaide | Breed W.G.,University of Adelaide | And 3 more authors.
Veterinary Clinical Pathology | Year: 2014

Background: Oxalate nephrosis is a highly prevalent disease in the Mount Lofty Ranges koala population in South Australia, but associated clinicopathologic findings remain undescribed. Objectives: The aims of this study were to determine plasma biochemical and urinalysis variables, particularly for renal function and urinary crystal morphology and composition, in koalas with oxalate nephrosis. Methods: Blood and urine samples from Mount Lofty Ranges koalas with oxalate nephrosis were compared with those unaffected by renal oxalate crystal deposition from Mount Lofty and Kangaroo Island, South Australia and Moggill, Queensland. Plasma and urine biochemistry variables were analyzed using a Cobas Bio analyzer, and urinary oxalate by high-performance liquid chromatography. Urinary crystal composition was determined by infrared spectroscopy and energy dispersive X-ray analysis. Results: Azotemia (urea > 6.6 mmol/L, creatinine > 150 μmol/L) was found in 93% of koalas with oxalate nephrosis (n = 15). All azotemic animals had renal insufficiency (urine specific gravity [USG] < 1.035), and in 83%, USG was < 1.030. Koalas with oxalate nephrosis were hyperoxaluric compared with Queensland koalas (P < .01). Urinary crystals from koalas with oxalate nephrosis had atypical morphology and were composed of calcium oxalate. Mount Lofty Ranges koalas unaffected by renal oxalate crystal deposition had renal insufficiency (43%), although only 14% had USG < 1.030 (n = 7). Unaffected Mount Lofty Ranges and Kangaroo Island koalas were hyperoxaluric compared with Queensland koalas (P < .01). Conclusions: Koalas with oxalate nephrosis from the Mount Lofty Ranges had renal insufficiency, hyperoxaluria, and pathognomonic urinary crystals. The findings of this study will aid veterinary diagnosis of this disease. © 2014 American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology and European Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology.


Johnston G.R.,Royal Zoological Society of South Australia
Waterbirds | Year: 2016

The breeding biology of Australian Pelicans (Pelecanus conspicillatus) was studied on the coast of South Australia between 2002 and 2004. This study aimed to compare breeding on the coast with previous studies of inland breeding Australian Pelicans and to test whether this species exhibits siblicidal brood reduction. Nests were generally constructed on the ground in spatially and temporally discrete colonies. Nests within colonies were 1.3 ± 0.5 m apart (Range = 0.6-4.5; n = 327), whereas colonies were 329 m apart (Range = 21-1,136; n = 63). Within colonies, 80% of nests were initiated within 10 days of each other. Colonies contained 41.0 ± 37.6 nests (Range = 1-148; n = 63). Most colonies were initiated during the austral winter and spring (June-September) in contrast to opportunistic breeding in inland areas. Clutch size averaged 1.92 ± 0.36 eggs (Range = 1-4; n = 2,297), and incubation lasted 32 days (Range = 28-38; n = 57). Hatching success averaged 41.5 ± 38.6% (Range = 0-99; n = 24 colonies), the number of nestlings that survived to join a crèche was 20.3 ± 22.4% (Range = 0-66; n = 24 colonies), and fledging success averaged 15.3 ± 18.3% (Range = 0-61; n = 24 colonies). Aggression among nestlings and resulting wounds were observed in 48% of broods (n = 64). Mortality during the 10-day nestling period was high (5.5 ± 2.2%/day; Range = 2.5-10.0; n = 45) and was the major determinant of overall breeding success. These findings suggest that Australian Pelicans exhibit siblicidal brood reduction.


Death C.E.,Murdoch University | Death C.E.,University of Melbourne | Taggart D.A.,Royal Zoological Society of South Australia | Taggart D.A.,University of Adelaide | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2011

Sarcoptic mange, caused by Sarcoptes scabiei var. wombati, could be a significant threat to populations of southern hairy-nosed wombats (Lasiorhinus latifrons; SHNW) in Australia. Treatment is currently based on the off-label use of various parasiticidal drugs, with limited clinical efficacy trials. Our primary aim was to determine the pharmacokinetic parameters of a macrocyclic lactone, moxidectin, to assist in the development of effective treatment protocols. Pharmacokinetic parameters were determined in four female SHNW following a single subcutaneous injection of 0.2 mg/kg moxidectin. Blood samples were collected for 38 days following injection (August-September 2008), for analysis using liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry. The mean peak plasma concentration occurred at 13.6 hr, with a mean peak plasma level of 98.6 ng/ml. The mean elimination half-life was 5.03 days, resulting in a mean area under the curve of 377 ng.day/ml. The peak plasma moxidectin concentration was higher than that seen in livestock species but the plasma elimination half-life was shorter. This study suggests that a single injection of 0.2 mg/kg moxidectin may not be sufficient to clear a mange infection in this species. © Wildlife Disease Association 2011.

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