treating wombat mange

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treating wombat mange

Post  tonyquoll on Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:43 am

Hi,
Over the past 18 months, I've been attempting to treat wombats with mange on a private conservation reserve, Manna Park, which is near Merimbula NSW.
To summarise the efforts and results:
- untreated wombats died
- burying a dead wombat appeared to be a disaster, as months later a predator dug up the remains and shortly afterwards there was a mange epidemic.
- cremating wombats in a large bonfire, hot enough to eliminate all flesh and most bones, definitely prevented further infection from those victims
- sneaking up to wombats in very poor health and tipping 4-6ml Cydectin onto the neck-shoulder area was effective in restoring their health. It took 6 weeks for them to show definite improvement, but then they recovered their sight, hearing and fur.
- after the wombats recovered, they were no longer seen during the day, and they also dug new burrows away from the open paddock where they had been grazing.
- as their new locations were not found, treatment was not possible and the wombats subsequently lapsed into poor health with severe mange. One died.
- the current approach is to install burrow flaps on all burrows - 35 of them so far and still looking. The intention is to fill the caps with Cydectin every week, however this is not done on rainy days so not always possible.

After reading some scientific reports:
Skerratt, L. F., Middleton, D., & Beveridge, I. (1999). Distribution of life cycle stages of Sarcoptes scabiei var wombati and effects of severe mange on common wombats in Victoria. Journal of wildlife diseases, 35(4), 633.
Hartley, M., & English, A. (2005). Sarcoptes scabei var. wombati infection in the common wombat (Vombatus ursinus). European Journal of Wildlife Research, 51(2), 117-121.
Skerratt, L. F. (2005). Sarcoptes scabiei: an important exotic pathogen of wombats. Microbiology Australia, 26(2), 79-81. Read full article at: http://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=hGraxtmZXEoC&oi=fnd&pg=PA79&dq=Sarcoptes+scabiei:+an+important+exotic+pathogen+of+wombats&ots=XgPdQDi15Q&sig=Ew-Auc8mpfw1TPGKK0tYCG6SqPg#v=onepage&q=Sarcoptes%20scabiei%3A%20an%20important%20exotic%20pathogen%20of%20wombats&f=false

I notice they say:
- transmission occurs when wombats share burrows. Mange may also be transmitted by burrow occupation by rabbit or fox.
- the cracking and damage to the skin creates sites of bacterial infection, which causes intestinal problems that is eventually fatal.
- ideal treatment includes pour-on acaricide (such as Cydectin), plus injection with the acaricide, plus injection of long-acting anti-biotics.
- washing the scale and mites off with a keratolytic shampoo very effective, but not recommend for wild wombats due to the stress it would cause.

I asked a vet about anti-biotic treatment, who insisted they would need to inspect the wombat in question. I'm undecided whether to capture a wombat for full treatment, especially as I do not have an enclosure for long-term care.

Any comments or suggestions?

tonyquoll

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Re: treating wombat mange

Post  wynan on Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:28 am

Hi Tony
We have similar results, we have also found that the use of Paramectin Oral diluted at 1% in a spray bottle will help stop the reinfestation. Just spray the wombat after the Cydectin poor on and it will kill the male mites sitting on the wombat's fur and skin. We also used it on bedding and surfaces of a wombat in care with mange.
Next time we find a wombat with mange we will also spray the entrance to the burrow and any obvious "scratch poles"
The use of a night vision camera is also very useful to find out where they go after they get better and only come out after dark.
Marie

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Re: treating wombat mange

Post  Dianna on Wed May 25, 2011 4:18 pm

Hi Tony I have been treating wild wombats since march 2009 near wombyean caves it's difficult. I treat when i see them, directly and then use flaps and cydetin over an area 1km by 600m. I have about 60 + actual burrows that get 'noticable' use, then there appears to be many escape burrows, some use, but generally not many scats in the area. I have used 13 flaps at the height of the mange plague at the start. I found that by observing the scats (photographed them at first to get the gist of the differences, sloppy big, less cubed, actual size. Then I could start to see who went where, although I couldn't put a face to who owned which scats. It was more about which burrows each was frequenting, I then got their measure, that they seemed to just about 3 burrows in any one month each and so could flap one each of those , and a couple i was not sure about for good measure. I also started to notice points where a few went thru fence lines and put a flap there. Yes they would suddenly start using another burrow it might take a while to find but their scats were still around if i looked along the wombat tracks in the bracken fern, so still had a few places I could get them. I treated for longer and seemed to clear it up.No mangy wombats for about 12 months. I then got what I now call a traveler dec 2010 a very badly manged wombat I'd never seen before (i take pic's and log wounds on ears, etc as fur colour changes) , different scat's and direct treated him, and he sadly disappeared never to be seen again, although i treated a number of burrows in the area he was in they were not what i would call frequently used I regret not catching him, that day, but thinking about it overnight, I (thought) I had no facilties. . Now after seeing no other manged wombats one has appeared 2 weeks ago, with it around his eye, with heaps of battle scars, on his rump, also never before seen a really big fellow, and he's moved into at least 2 burrows which I have flapped and used fire ash around the entrance to help smother mites. I know of a wombat with mange and fight injuries happily stay in a fenced 5 acre kangaroo enclosure, dig his own burrow under the main shed, get well and self release so I think if they are really mangy but not at the cracked stage you might get away with with less to house them. If they have cracks and possible infection they really need to come into care or they might be too far one and need euthanaising. Happy for you to email me to talk more we can only do what we can. Permant water (troughs work) is the big attraction that seems to keep them around and lots of grass. I watered area's during the drought to give them plenty of feed and lucky we have spring fed dams that never dried up in the drought. I prefer my plywood flaps, they don't blow in the wind, none have been destroyed by my ''flap rage' wombat he just ignores them, and I've left them there all this time, so they use the burrow's and ignore them, even though all stained with cuydetin.

Dianna
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Re: treating wombat mange

Post  tonyquoll on Thu May 26, 2011 4:51 am

Thanks Dianna; that's very encouraging.
I'm now weekly topping up 30 burrow flaps, leaving 20 seemingly unused burrows, over about a 40ha area. There appears to be 4 adults and 3 juniors with varying degrees of mange.
They really seem to avoid the cydectin, with a range of strategies:
- changing to an untreated burrow
- digging deeper or wider entrances to go around the flap
- pushing the flap sideways with their nose, to go around it
- destroying and/or removing the flap
I hope that by treating the large number of burrows I ensure they are treated. The polycarbonate flaps seem to be less prone to damage than the plywood ones I first used. I think I also need to go around at dusk, sneak up on them and directly pour on the cydectin to ensure treatment.
There are also more burrows deeper into the forest around this area, with apparently unaffected wombats (seen on remote camera). The mange affected ones prefer to open, sunny, grassy areas, and proximity to water. We have two creeks and a water trough in the paddock.

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