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Epidemiology of lumpy jaw in captive macropods across Australia and Europe: An investigation of disease risk and treatment approaches

Rendle, Jessica Amy Jane (2019) Epidemiology of lumpy jaw in captive macropods across Australia and Europe: An investigation of disease risk and treatment approaches. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Lumpy jaw is a well-recognised cause of morbidity and mortality in captive macropods (Macropodidae) worldwide. The extent and causes of the disease are largely unknown, although multiple risk factors associated with a captive environment are thought to contribute to the development of clinical disease. Identification of risk factors associated with lumpy jaw would assist with the development of preventive management strategies, potentially reducing mortalities.

A cross-sectional study was undertaken from 2011 to 2015, to determine prevalence and risk factors for this disease through the distribution of a survey to 527 institutions across Australia and Europe; two regions where macropods are popular exhibits. Veterinary and husbandry records from the period 1st January 1995 up to and including 28th November 2016 (the last date when data were extracted from zoo records) were analysed in a retrospective cohort study, examining risk factors for developing disease and treatments used, over time. Computed tomography was used to examine disease occurrence in wild macropods using skulls from population management culls.

The prevalence of lumpy jaw was found to differ between the two regions (p < 0.0002). A review of 6178 records for 2759 macropods housed within eight zoos across the Australian and European regions, found incidence rates and risk of infection differed between geographic regions and individual institutions. Risk of developing lumpy jaw increased with age, particularly for macropods >10 years (Australia IRR 7.63, p < 0.001; Europe IRR 7.38, p < 0.001). Treatment approach varied and prognosis was typically poor with 62.5% mortality for Australian and European regions combined. Lumpy jaw was detected in all captive genera examined, but was absent from the wild populations studied.

Geographic region influenced the incidence of lumpy jaw, the risks associated with developing clinical disease, and preferred treatment approach. Despite advances in antibiotic therapy and surgical techniques, treatment of lumpy jaw is largely unrewarding for the individual and should be approached on an individual basis. This research provides new information about this refractory disease and makes practical recommendations to reduce disease risk. This information may assist institutions in providing optimal long-term health management for captive macropods; such efforts having a positive impact on both welfare and conservation, including but not limited to captive breeding and translocation programs.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Veterinary Medicine
Supervisor(s): Vaughan-Higgins, Rebecca, Warren, Kristin, Yeap, Lian, Jackson, Bethany and Ward, S.
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