Wildlife sentinels reveal expanding distribution of rat lungworm

A study examining the role of wildlife species as sentinels for rat lungworm suggests an expanded distribution of the parasite, and the need for pet owners and wildlife carers to take precautions in order to minimise transmission of the disease to animals in care.

Rat lungworm, or Angiostrongylus cantonensis, was the most common cause of neurological disease . . . → Read More: Wildlife sentinels reveal expanding distribution of rat lungworm

Genome search identifies cause of hypokalaemia in Burmese cats

An international research team has identified the gene associated with primary hypokalaemia in Burmese cats.

Hypokalaemia, or subnormal serum potassium ion concentration, is typically a secondary disorder but may occur as a primary problem, most notably as hypokalaemic periodic paralysis in humans and horses, and feline hypokalaemic polymyopathy, also known as Burmese hypokalaemic periodic polymyopathy (BHP) due . . . → Read More: Genome search identifies cause of hypokalaemia in Burmese cats

Clinical Zoo: Helping out a gecko with no name

There’s something exciting about exploratory abdominal surgery. Whether you’re in small animal, large animal or exotics practice, you can’t always predict whether the procedure will be routine or whether you will “peek and shriek”, to borrow an increasingly popular phrase being bandied around at veterinary conferences and surgery workshops.

That element of the unknown is increased when dealing with wildlife species which traditionally receive less veterinary intervention – often not until they are at death’s door.

Wildlife species bred in captivity are monitored closely and represent a population for whom veterinary access and intervention are more accessible and potentially more timely. But when things go wrong with a captive-bred animal which just happens to be an endangered species, whose ongoing health and reproductive capacity is vital not only for the individual animal but for the future of their kind, there’s additional pressure to restore the animal to perfect health. Continue reading Clinical Zoo: Helping out a gecko with no name

Female recovers, but fatal white rhino disease remains a mystery

A female rhinoceros exhibiting symptoms of a condition which claimed the lives of four of her conspecifics appears to have overcome her illness, despite exhaustive testing failing to identify the aetiological agent.

The mystery illness claimed the lives of four adult White Rhinoceros at Taronga Western Plains Zoo within a period of weeks in March, sparking an international investigation. Affected rhinos exhibited a range of signs, particularly neurological signs including stumbling and ataxia prior to their deaths.

The female also exhibited these signs, but survived the illness along with two other males which remain unaffected. Last month the zoo reported that the female White Rhino had improved and was assessed to have a good prognosis following intensive monitoring and supportive care after exhibiting neurological signs. All other affected animals had died despite intervention. The two remaining males, neither of whom have exhibited symptoms, remain healthy. No other animals at the zoo – including the black rhinoceros – have experienced the illness.

The intensive, eight-week-long investigation, lead by the Zoo, involved collaboration with Rhinoceros specialists in Africa and North America, Government virologists and veterinary services as well as multiple pathology laboratories.

A Working Group, consisting of the State’s most experienced veterinarians and pathologists including the Department of Primary Industries Chief Veterinary Officer was established to assist with the investigation. Continue reading Female recovers, but fatal white rhino disease remains a mystery

Decorated veterinarian made Companion of Charles Sturt University

Douglas Bryden, AM, was made Companion of the University of Charles Sturt University, in recognition of his role in the development of CSU’s veterinary degree.

Bryden was one of the early consultants called upon to develop the degree program – before most people knew about it.

As Bryden recalled, it was a bit like being asked to participate in a secret-service mission.

“I got a phone call one evening in 2002 from Wagga Wagga asking would I come down and discuss something,” he recalls. “I didn’t know what it was they wanted to discuss or why, but I knew from the questions they were asking that it was really important.” Continue reading Decorated veterinarian made Companion of Charles Sturt University