Alopecia in a captive koala
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Alopecia in a captive koala. Tarra Johnson Biology Department Eastern CT State University . An undescribed Demodex sp. and Demodicosis in a captive Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 2000, 31(1):100-106.

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Alopecia in a captive koala l.jpg

Alopecia in a captive koala

Tarra Johnson

Biology Department

Eastern CT State University


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An undescribed Demodex sp. and Demodicosis in a captive Koala(Phascolarctos cinereus)Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 2000, 31(1):100-106

Linda J. Vogelnest,, B.V.Sc., M.A.C.V.Sc., Larry Vogelnest, B.V.Sc., M.V.S., and Ralf S. Mueller, F.A.C.V.Sc., Dip.A.C.V.D.


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Alopecia Koala

  • Described by the dictionary - n : loss of hair (especially on the head) or wool or feathers; in humans it can result from heredity or hormonal imbalance or certain diseases or drugs and treatments (chemotherapy for cancer)

  • Not all Alopecia is cancer related



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Demodex sp. of Mites Koala

  • Very small, only 0.1- 0.4 mm.

  • Usually present in mammals with out problems.

  • High percentage of mites found in older people with out symptoms.

  • Often inflamed by bacterial infection and host factors

  • Distinctive shape fused head and thorax


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Demodex sp. Pictures Koala

Human follicle mite

Caused by Demodex canis


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Alopecia near the eye Koala

  • Easily accessible for bacteria

  • Deep skin scrapings confirm mites

  • Along with inflammation, redness and swelling

  • Hair follicle plump, short and sebaceous glands prominent appearing below the bulb of hair follicle


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Demodex in the Koala’s Skin Koala

  • Commonly called follicle mites

  • Often found in the hair follicles and sebaceous gland of the face.

  • Other areas

  • Severe cases animal may have to be euthanized


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Treatment Koala

  • 7 days of ophthalmic ointment containing neomycin and polymixin B, sulfacetamide sodium prednisolone.

  • After relapse Oral Ivermectin

  • For human cases various creams

  • Cortisone shots

  • Some people use Rogaine with Minoxidil

  • In some cases none of the treatment work


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Results Koala

  • Periocular alopecia after 3 days

  • 6 months of treatment with same ointment

  • Ocular discharge resolved

  • Alopecia remianed the same for 7 months with out treatment

  • Alopecia became more extensive

  • Oral Ivermectin used with success


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Discussion Koala

  • Other than Alopecia Koala remained healthy until death as a result of Leukemia

  • Abundance of mite population associated with failing T-lymphocyte function.

  • Mild cases may lead to an underlying disease.

  • Ivermectin is toxic and must given in small doses to build up to larger amounts


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Questions Koala


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