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Research & Education
Articles
Sarcoptic Mange
Mange Can Be Stopped

(Extract).

 

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The most serious health problem affecting wombats in Australia is mange, a systemic problem caused by a small mite, sarcoptes scabiei, the same mite which causes mange in dogs and other animals and scabies in humans. While the advent of easy to apply treatment has seen the mite limited or eradicated in human and dogs, wombats, partly because of their nocturnal and burrowing behaviours have not been afforded the benefits of treatment and now mange is widespread throughout the wombats' range. No part of Australia where wombats live is mange free and mange causes a long, slow and painful death for wombats.


The first Symposium on mange was held in NSW in October 2007 with the aim of bringing together people involved in the treatment of wombats with mange to share ideas, issues and concerns.


The Wombat Protection Society wishes to thank Voiceless, the fund for animals, “People's Choice Awards” for the opportunity to make this material available to a wide array of interested parties.
The Society applied to Voiceless for a grant to further work on wombat mange and as a result became one of four finalists for the People's Choice Award.


We thank those who voted online in November for this project and appreciate the $1,000.00 grant resulting.
This money assists the printing and copying of this presentation and its distribution.


Wombats are considered a National Icon for Australia and most pictures of wombats show healthy animals. Many people don't get to see a manged wombat and are often devastated when they do. A healthy wombat has bright eyes, clean and complete hair, skin inside the ears is clear and often pink, and if they haven't been rolling in dirt, their hair has a sheen.


Many people living in areas where mange is prevalent don't realise that all the wombats they see infested with mites and what they perceive as normal hair loss and skin encrusting is totally abnormal and an indication that the animal will die shortly. Sadly farmers who don't like wombats joke about not shooting mangey ones because they will spread the infestation and kill off other wombats.


The antithesis of the healthy wombat is the one with mange. Thickened plaques of parakeratotic skin form all over the animal, leading to flyblown fissures. The ears and eyes become covered in thick scab like plaques. The animal is hunched up, eventually has difficulty moving, eating and drinking and dies an often slow death, most frequently succumbing to starvation, deafness, blindness and/or pulmonary infections.


These are secondary infections and not inevitable; however unless the mites are removed through treatment it appears over time the mites will exponentially increase and the degree of clinical signs correlates with number of mites.


That Australia allows any native animal to live at risk of mange and consequently die in such a state is a national disgrace.

 

click here to download the full report
PDF file -

 

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a Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat with Sarcoptic Mange
Courtesy L Dennis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


An orphaned Bare-Nosed Wombat joey being
treated for Sarcoptic Mange
Courtesy L Dennis



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