Project Profile: Lorikeet paralysis syndrome NSW & Qld

Lorikeet paralysis syndrome is a seasonal syndrome which has been occurring in eastern Australia for a number of years. This summer there has been a particularly high number of cases in northern NSW and southern Qld.

The syndrome primarily affects rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus) but has also been reported in scaly-breasted lorikeets (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus). Affected birds are unable to fly, with varying degrees of paralysis of the hindlimbs. In more severe cases the paralysis may affect the whole body and the bird may be unable to blink or swallow, and have a significant change to the voice. Less severely affected birds may recover with supportive treatment.

Wildlife disease experts, including the Registry, have been investigating this syndrome and a wide range of tests have been done. The current investigation has found no evidence of an infectious disease as the cause of this syndrome. The possibility of an environmental or plant toxin is being investigated.

In New South Wales  members of the public who see a sick lorikeet should call a licensed wildlife rehabilitation group or local veterinarian. See the NSW DPIE website for further advice.

In Queensland members of the public who see a sick lorikeet should call the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625). See the Qld DES website for further advice.

If you see any other unusual signs of disease or deaths in wildlife you can report it to:

  • your local State/Territory Wildlife Health Australia Coordinator
  • the 24 hour Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on free call 1800 675 888
  • your local veterinarian
  • the Department of Primary Industries or Agriculture in the State/Territory in which the event is occurring/occurred.