Swamp Wallaby Ear Disease
The Australian Registry of Wildlife Health has been investigating an emergent disease syndrome in swamp wallabies.
Initial reports were received from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Rangers that several swamp wallabies with erosive ear lesions were freqeunting the camp grounds of Mimosa Rocks National Park on the NSW/QLD border. On visiting the area and surrounds Nov 2017, several swamp wallabies and a few red-neck wallabies were found to have eroded ears and cloudy corneas. One affected animal was emaciated and had a draining tract from a facial abscess (lumpy jaw), and it was euthanased on welfare grounds and to facilitate an investigation.
An unusual single celled parasite was found within the ear lesions of this animal and the organism is being further characterised.
Swamp wallaby at Mimosa Rocks National Park seen to have severe erosion of the pinnae, corneal oedema and lumpy jaw
Swamp wallaby from Lovett Bay. Eroded ear margins with nodular margins.
Another swamp wallaby from Lovett Bay, Pittwater was more recently submitted for post mortem examination. The animal had severe corneal oedema (cloudy corneas), eroded ear margins, and a lacerated tongue suggestive of seizure activity. Impression smears of the ear lesions contained a similar single celled parasite to that seen in the Mimosa rocks animal.
We have also received reports of multiple swamp wallabies from Newport or Elvina bay with neurological signs but have not been able to follow that up to see if it is related.
So we seem to have something potentially new, that may have a fairly wide geographic range in NSW. Additional work is required to demonstrate that the parasite is causing the lesions, rather than just present in the blood of the wallabies.
We would be interested to examine additional animals that may be affected.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us at the Registry if you have animals that you think might fit this syndrome.
Parasite from the lesion.