Abstracts: Hendra virus and horse owners – risk perception and management

Hendra virus is a highly pathogenic novel paramyxovirus causing sporadic fatal infection in horses and humans in Australia. Species of fruit-bats (genus Pteropus), commonly known as flying-foxes, are the natural host of the virus. We undertook a survey of horse owners in the states of Queensland and New South Wales, Australia to assess the level of adoption . . . → Read More: Abstracts: Hendra virus and horse owners – risk perception and management

Veterinarians urged to consider ABLV in horses with neurological signs

Baby bat suckes from bottle3The detection of Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) in two horses on a Queensland property is a concern for veterinarians and horse owners alike, according to the Australian Veterinary Association.

Biosecurity Queensland quarantined a property in the Southern Downs last month after a horse tested positive for ABLV – the first known case of ABLV in this species.

According to a statement by NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth, the yearling was initially off-colour with subtle signs of dullness and ataxia. Its condition deteriorated over a period of days, demonstrating marked ataxia, head-pressing, dysphagia, hypermetria and a rectal temperature of 39°C. Within four days the horse struggled to stand. The animal drank but did not eat, and had a heart rate of 60 beats per minute. Hendra virus testing returned negative.

Five days after initial presentation the horse developed seizures and was euthanased by the veterinarian, who performed a necropsy. Histopathology of the brain revealed severe diffuse non-purulent encephalitis and myelitis. Because this finding can be seen with ABLV, testing was undertaken. Other differentials included Hendra virus, tetanus and flavivirus (thought to be possible due to a local surge of mosquitos in the preceding month). The animal tested positive for ABLV. Continue reading Veterinarians urged to consider ABLV in horses with neurological signs

An emergency caesarean with a twist

Urban sprawl may allow us to actualise the “great Aussie dream” of a big house with a big back yard, but at worst it can be a nightmare for our  wildlife, with motor-vehicle accidents and predation by domestic animals resulting in countless injuries and fatalities daily.

According to Robert Johnson, based at South Penrith Veterinary Clinic in Western Sydney, veterinarians play an important role in treating and rehabilitating wildlife that has come off second best in such encounters.

Jane Doe, a female pink-tongued skink (Cyclodomorphus gerrardii) presented to Johnson following a dog attack in a suburban back yard. For the uninitiated, pink tongued skinks are extremely similar in appearance to Eastern Blue-Tongue lizards, distinguished by a more slender body, a narrower tail, striking cross-band markings and of course a pink – as opposed to blue – tongue, hence the name. They’re just a lot less common. Continue reading An emergency caesarean with a twist

Gold Coast lifts circus animal ban

Exotic circus animals will be allowed back in the Gold Coast City LGA after a controversial ban was overturned in February.

Four years ago the Gold Coast City Council voted to ban circuses featuring exotic animals from performing on council-owned land, but the ban did not extend to private property.

The debate was heated, and councillors were evenly split on the issue at seven votes each.

Mayor Tom Tate used his casting vote and lifted the ban.

Prior to the council meeting, about 100 animal rights activists demonstrated outside Gold Coast City Council Chambers.

A group of former circus owners were also present.

RSPCA Qld spokesperson, Michael Beatty, said he urges the council to stand firm on its original decision and not allow circuses with exotic animals to perform on council land. Continue reading Gold Coast lifts circus animal ban

Deadly tick season threatens pets

Vets are warning pet owners to be vigilant as an explosion of tick paralysis cases in Australia’s eastern states leaves a trail of casualties.

Perfect breeding conditions have created huge numbers of paralysis ticks this summer, according to Australian Veterinary Association spokesperson Jodie Wilson.

“The tick season is usually at its height in eastern states from spring through to autumn, but about 700 cases have already been logged in Queensland and NSW, which is extremely high for so early on in the season,” Wilson said. Continue reading Deadly tick season threatens pets