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


Mounsey, K and Harvey, RJ and Wilkinson, V and Takano, K and Old, J and Stannard, H and Wicker, L and Phalen, D and Carver, S, Drug dose and animal welfare: important considerations in the treatment of wildlife, Parasitology Research, 121 pp. 1065-1071. ISSN 0932-0113 (2022) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2022, corrected publication 2022

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00436-022-07460-4


A recent article published in Parasitology Research describes the use of high-dose moxidectin (Cydectin®) by wildlife carers for the treatment of sarcoptic mange in bare-nose wombats (Vombatus ursinus). We provide additional perspectives on this topic, including consideration of the pharmacokinetics, mode of action and efficacy of moxidectin. The volumes of moxidectin applied by some carers exceeded the manufacturer recommended dose by up to 100-fold, although there appeared to be no association between dose and clinical efficacy. The safety of these extremely high doses has not been scientifically evaluated and we raise concerns regarding the potential for severe adverse events that may be undetected in free-living animals. The inadvertent spillage of large volumes of pour-on acaricides may also have ecotoxic impacts. Reports of treatment failure prompting the perceived need for higher doses are also concerning. The causal factors behind treatment failures should be investigated as a matter of priority, as it is possible that moxidectin resistance is emerging in Sarcoptes scabiei mites infesting wombats. We welcome the insights of individuals actively engaged in the treatment of this debilitating disease of wombats and encourage further discourse, reflecting both the lived experience and evidence-based practice.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Veterinary sciences
Research Field:Veterinary parasitology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in terrestrial environments
UTAS Author:Wilkinson, V (Miss Victoria Wilkinson)
UTAS Author:Carver, S (Associate Professor Scott Carver)
ID Code:149671
Year Published:2022
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (LP180101251)
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2022-04-05
Last Modified:2022-05-05

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