Wobbly Possum Alert

DPIPWE has advised that wobbly possum disease has been affecting brushtail possums in the Hobart area.

Following is the advisory from the department …

Wobbly possum disease is caused by a nidovirus and has been present for many years within Australian and New Zealand brushtail possum populations. New advances in diagnostic capabilities now enable us to detect the virus and examine how it varies between the two countries. There is no known treatment.

Common symptoms may include:

·         Impaired balance (ataxia), head tilt or circling

·         Tremors or twitching

·         Crouched hind limb gait

·         Blindness or visual abnormalities

·         Falling from tree/difficulty climbing

·         Out in daylight hours

·         Docility/confusion

The disease appears to be contagious between, and usually fatal to, brushtail possums. It requires close contact for spread between possums, and is not thought to be a risk to human health or to other wild or domestic animals.

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 brushtail possums isolated/quarantined from other possums and other wildlife generally,  and observe for signs of sickness;

–   Record details including possum origin, sex, age, body condition, clinical signs noted;

    Use disposable gloves when handling possums or wash and disinfect hands with F10 hand wash. Ensure all enclosures or bedding / pouches are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with diluted bleach or F10.

    If in the greater Hobart area, notify Kingston Animal Hospital on 6229 5900, Mayfair Vet Clinic on 6224 4244or Bonorong Wildlife Hospital on 6268 1184 if a brushtail in your care demonstrates any of the above symptoms, or use your regular vet outside of Hobart;

Please notify the Wildlife Management Branch on 6165 4305 or email wildlife.reception@dpipwe.tas.gov.au for all suspected cases.

Information provided by wildlife rehabilitators has been vital to the department’s response to date and we will continue to keep you informed as we learn more. In the meantime, the Wildlife Health Australia Fact Sheet provides a very good summary of the disease.

You can also check the departmental website for regular updates https://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/wildlife-management/caring-for-wildlife/brushtail-possums-with-neurological-symptoms

If you have any concerns that animals in your care may be affected, please call the Wildlife Management Branch 6165 4305 or email wildlife.reception@dpipwe.tas.gov.au