Debilitating disease in a polyparasitised woylie (Bettongia penicillata): A diagnostic investigation

Amy S. Northover, Aileen D. Elliot, Sarah Keatley, Ziyuan Lim, Adriana Botero, Amanda Ash, Alan J. Lymbery, Adrian F. Wayne, Stephanie S. Godfrey, R. C.Andrew Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


During monitoring of critically endangered woylie (Bettongia penicillata) populations within the south-west of Western Australia, an adult female woylie was euthanased after being found in extremely poor body condition with diffuse alopecia, debilitating skin lesions and severe ectoparasite infestation. Trypanosoma copemani G2 and Sarcocystis sp. were detected molecularly within tissue samples collected post-mortem. Potorostrongylus woyliei and Paraustrostrongylus sp. nematodes were present within the stomach and small intestine, respectively. Blood collected ante-mortem revealed the presence of moderate hypomagnesaemia, mild hypokalaemia, mild hyperglobulinaemia and mild hypoalbuminaemia. Diffuse megakaryocytic hypoplasia was evident within the bone marrow. We propose various hypotheses that may explain the presence of severe ectoparasite infection, skin disease and poor body condition in this woylie. Given the potential deleterious effects of parasite infection, the importance of monitoring parasites cannot be over-emphasised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-279
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal For Parasitology: Parasites And Wildlife
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


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