Brushtail Possums with neurological symptoms
The Department is responding to a recent series of reported brushtail possum deaths in the Greater Hobart region.
The possums have presented with the following neurological signs:
- Out in daylight hours
- Docile and does not move when approached
- Difficulty climbing or falling out of tree
- Abnormal posture or gait
- Tremors, head tilt or circling
- Uncoordinated movement
- Signs of visual impairment or blindness
As the first reports of the suspected disease were received, DPIPWE vets and Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary advised Biosecurity Tasmania and the Chief Veterinary Officer, who are coordinating further testing of samples with the Australian Animal Health Laboratory who will organise virological confirmation. Virus testing is specialised and complex and it could take several weeks to get confirmation of the cause of the disease.
We ask that all rehabilitators currently caring for brushtail possums observe the following points to reduce the risk of further spread of the disease:
- Keep any new brushtail possums separate/quarantined from other brushtail possums;
- Notify the Department if a brushtail possum in your care demonstrates any of the above symptoms;
- Maintain handwashing procedures between animals and at the beginning and end of feeding and handling sessions; and
- If you have any concerns that animals in your care may be affected, please call the Wildlife Management Branch (03) 6165 4305 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Results of the testing will be published here as they are received helping keep key stakeholders including wildlife carers, wildlife parks, and veterinary clinics up to date.