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Evaluating the effects of ivermectin treatment on communities of gastrointestinal parasites in translocated woylies (Bettongia penicillata)

Northover, A.S., Godfrey, S.S., Lymbery, A.J., Morris, K., Wayne, A.F. and Thompson, R.C.A. (2015) Evaluating the effects of ivermectin treatment on communities of gastrointestinal parasites in translocated woylies (Bettongia penicillata). EcoHealth, In press .

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10393-015-1088-2
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Abstract

Wildlife species are often treated with anti-parasitic drugs prior to translocation, despite the effects of this treatment being relatively unknown. Disruption of normal host–parasite relationships is inevitable during translocation, and targeted anti-parasitic drug treatment may exacerbate this phenomenon with inadvertent impacts on both target and non-target parasite species. Here, we investigate the effects of ivermectin treatment on communities of gastrointestinal parasites in translocated woylies (Bettongia penicillata). Faecal samples were collected at three time points (at the time of translocation, and 1 and 3 months post-translocation) and examined for nematode eggs and coccidian oocysts. Parasite prevalence and (for nematodes) abundance were estimated in both treated and untreated hosts. In our study, a single subcutaneous injection of ivermectin significantly reduced Strongyloides-like egg counts 1 month post-translocation. Strongyle egg counts and coccidia prevalence were not reduced by ivermectin treatment, but were strongly influenced by site. Likewise, month of sampling rather than ivermectin treatment positively influenced body condition in woylies post-translocation. Our results demonstrate the efficacy of ivermectin in temporarily reducing Strongyloides-like nematode abundance in woylies. We also highlight the possibility that translocation-induced changes to host density may influence coinfecting parasite abundance and host body condition post-translocation.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Copyright: © 2015 International Association for Ecology and Health
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/29489
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