Haemolytic anaemia associated with theileriosis in an orphaned platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Haemoparasites such as Theileria are relatively common in many native Australian mammals; however, their role in disease and their influence on wildlife ecology is not well understood. A tick-infested, juvenile female platypus was seen on the bank of the Murrumbidgee River near Oura during daytime following a flood and was brought intocare. Haematology of dorsal bill sinus blood revealed yellow plasma, a PCV of 0.17 andred cell count of 4.4 x 1012/l (normally 0.49 - 0.51 l/l & 9.9 - 10.3 x1012/l respectively)and a marked regenerative anaemia. Numerous erythrocytes contained parasitesmorphologically consistent with Theileria ornithorhynchi were present in Diff- Quik stainedsmears and some parasitised erythrocytes were phagocytosed. A semi- nested PCR using extracted DNA from blood produced an 18S rDNA gene that aligned with Theileriaand Babesia genotypes. Despite tick removal and PCV improvement; the platypus’condition deteriorated, it died and was necropsied 5 days later. Histopathology revealed a moderate erythroid hyperplasia of the bone marrow and spleen. The animal’s deathwas attributed to a severe immune mediated haemolytic anaemia secondary to T.ornithorhynchi infection. Theileria is thought to cause little harm under normal circumstances, but in an immunosuppressed platypus may become a significant pathogen.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event64th Australian Mammal Society Meeting - St Lucia Campus of the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 01 Jul 201805 Jul 2018
https://australianmammals.org.au/conferences/conference-2018 (conference website with link to program)


Conference64th Australian Mammal Society Meeting
Internet address


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