Sarcoptic mange is a contagious skin infestation caused by the parasitic mite Sarcoptes scabiei. The disease results in severe skin crusting, scratching, hair loss, and death due to malnutrition or secondary infections if left untreated. Sarcoptic mange is a serious welfare issue for bare-nosed wombats in south-eastern Australia, with high prevalence in many areas of New South Wales. There is a strong need to improve the currently limited options for treatment of mange in free-living wombats. This project aims to better understand why sarcoptic mange in wombats is so difficult to control and provide evidence to support improved treatment methods. We will closely monitor treatment efficacy in wombats with severe mange by documenting clinical, behavioural and mite responses. We will address concerns around developing drug resistance by directly measuring the mite-killing activity of scabies treatments and test the effect of different drug delivery formulations on mites. For the first time, we will complete molecular genetic studies to analyse the impacts of treatment on resistance-associated genes in scabies mites from wombats. We will also explore the environmental impacts of mange treatment by testing the activity toxicity of acaricides on to non-target freshwater species. Project outcomes will inform best practice guidelines for the treatment of mange in one of our most iconic marsupials and will be relevant to the welfare of mange-impacted species worldwide.
|Effective start/end date||3/10/23 → 31/08/24|
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