At Eumundi Wildlife Centre at the moment we are seeing a high number of lorikeets coming into care. Most are showing no ability to fly without any signs of trauma that would lead to their condition. Wildlife veterinarians have termed this Lorikeet paralysis syndrome (LPS) and their influx into care seems to be seasonal to some degree, but cases are seen throughout the year. However the wet weather of late may have made things worse by washing nectar from flowering trees and shrubs.
LPS has been recognized in wild rainbow and scaly-breasted lorikeets in eastern Australia since the 1970’s. In South East Queensland, lorikeets present unable to fly, ataxic (lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements), with more severe cases showing voice changes and inability to blink and swallow. Birds are often in good body condition, but some also present emaciated and dehydrated.
The cause of the condition is unknown. Numerous theories, including poisoning and deficiencies, and viral infections have been proposed, but none have been proven.
Treatment of their condition is with supportive care, since the cause is unknown. A few lorikeets can deteriorate very rapidly in care and require euthanasia, but most of them will recover if given time. Typically this can mean four to ten weeks in care.
If you have a concern for any wildlife, please contact the centre on 5442 8057 so appropriate medication and treatment can be given as soon as possible to the patient.