One antibiotic cures 97 per cent of koalas treated for chlamydia

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Peer-reviewed: This work was reviewed and scrutinised by relevant independent experts.

Treating koalas for chlamydia can be tricky. Koalas rely on bacterial fermentation of their high-fibre diet, making antibiotic therapy risky, and traditional anti-chlamydial antibiotics used in other species may cause fatal bacterial imbalances in koalas or simply be excreted before they can be effective. So, Australian researchers tested five antibiotics to treat 86 wild koalas at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital in the hope of finding one that worked and was well-tolerated. They found that doxycycline was the most effective, producing a 97 per cent cure rate. It was also well-tolerated by koalas and the weekly dosing requirement is a major advantage when treating wild animals.

Journal/conference: PLOS ONE

DOI: 10.1371/journal. pone.0236758

Organisation/s: University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital

Funder: This work was supported by an Australia Research Council Linkage program received by PT.

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