Over the past weeks our WILVOS 5441 6200 Hotline continues to receive many calls for rainbow lorikeets. Unfortunately, this is not unusual during the warm weather.
Over recent years there has been a seasonal recording of cases of Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome. LPS, as it is known, affects both rainbow and scaly-breasted lorikeets. The birds are usually noticed because of their inability to fly. Initially it may be suspected that their condition is caused by incidents such as a motor vehicle accident, impact with a window or an attack by a domestic pet.
Each year as more research is done, more is discovered about this debilitating syndrome. It is now classified into different categories of severity. There is no indication that it is infectious, which is a great relief.
The most advanced cases are unable to move their body, wings, legs or head. They also lose their ability to swallow or blink. Usually they are very emaciated by the time they are found and euthanasia is the kindest option.
Rainbow lorikeets are the birds that usually come into WILVOS care with LPS. Fortunately, in most cases they haven’t advanced to this extreme stage.
If the birds are rehydrated with subcutaneous fluids and given pain relief, they will recover with good care and nutrition. Eye drops are also administered to combat the inability to blink. Rehabilitation may take a few months but it is wonderful to see them gradually improve and regain their flying skills.
Hopefully more research will lead to more answers. It is hoped that human impact influences aren’t behind the causes of Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome. At the moment, toxins are at the top of the list and the human race doesn’t have a good record of responsible use of poisonous chemicals.
Each year it is important to note just what lorikeets are eating in the summer months in those regions where LPS is prevalent. This information can then be passed onto Wildlife Heath Australia to help them with their findings.
Donna Brennan Wildlife Volunteers Assoc Inc (WILVOS) PO Box 4805 Sunshine Coast Mail Centre Q 4560 PH 5441 6200 www.wilvos.org.au