Caring for region’s growing koala colony

Two koalas from the region’s growing colony visited West Queanbeyan Veterinary Hospital last week. They were tested for chlamydia as part of standard preparation for release back into the wild. Fortunately, the results from the Koala Health Hub at Sydney University gave both koalas a full bill of health. Both animals tested positive to chlamydia pecorum after being rescued.

The koalas had been treated with the antibiotic Doxycycline and this treatment was clearly successful. The treatment consisted of one subcutaneous injection of Doxycycline at 5mg per kg, per week for four weeks.

A Koala being tested at the West Queanbeyan Vet.

A Koala being tested at the West Queanbeyan Vet.

James Fitzgerald, who runs the Koala Sanctuary, said great caution needed to be taken in relation to antibiotics and koalas, “as many antibiotics that are safe for use in most pets, kangaroos and wombats will kill the koala's special gut bacteria. This bacteria is required to digest toxic gum leaves and the koala will die without it.

“I always phone Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital in Queensland while at the local veterinary hospital to seek advice on antibiotics that have been proven safe to use in koalas. Many veterinarians will not know that many antibiotics will kill a koala’s gut bacteria and kill the koala.”