Drug dose and animal welfare: important considerations in the treatment of wildlife

Kate Mounsey, Robert J Harvey, Victoria Wilkinson, Kotaro Takano, Julie Old, Hayley Stannard, Leanne Wicker, David Phalen, Scott Carver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A recent publication in Parasitology Research by (Old et al. Parasitol Res 120:1077-1090, 2021) raises the topical and often controversial issue of the treatment of wildlife by personnel with little or no formal scientific training (e.g. wildlife carers). In a valuable contribution to the subject, Old and colleagues document a wide range of topical (pour-on) application doses and frequencies of moxidectin (Cydectin®) administered in situ to bare-nosed wombats (Vombatus ursinus) by members of the wildlife carer/treater community in southeast Australia to treat sarcoptic mange disease. This treatment occurred under minor use permits issued by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Management Authority (APVMA). These permits do not require veterinary supervision, although carers are registered and are expected to comply with the guidelines of this permit.The prevalence and severity of sarcoptic mange in wildlife is influenced by a variety of factors including mite biology, environmental conditions, population density, animal behaviour and immune susceptibility (Browne et al. Bioscience, 2021). In bare-nosed wombats, combinations of these elements play a substantial role in making the treatment of an already difficult disease more complex. (Moroni et al. Parasit Vectors 13:471, 2020) comment that any pharmacological treatment of free-ranging wildlife must consider these factors when assessing their feasibility and implications, especially in the context of emerging drug resistance and potential long-term ecological impacts. As individuals with significant interest in sarcoptic mange and representing a range of professional research and veterinary expertise, we see value in providing expert commentary on this issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1065-1071
Number of pages7
JournalParasitology Research
Volume121
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

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