Koala targeted by ticks receives life-saving blood transfusion

A koala joey is recovering in northern New South Wales after it was found with a shocking tick infestation.

The marsupial, estimated to be about 14 months old, had about 100 of the parasites covering his body when he arrived at the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital last week, and was in desperate need of help.

“If it didn’t have a blood transfusion it would have died,” senior veterinarian at the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, Dr Michael Pyne said.

The koala joey was on the operating table for more than two hours while the transfusion was carried out and the ticks were removed.

The koala needed a blood transfusion after being found with about 100 ticks covering its body. Source: Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation/ Facebook

Marley Christian, rescue coordinator at Friends of the Koala Inc., told Yahoo 7 the animal was even taken to another vet prior to being taken to the wildlife hospital, where he received some fluids to “pick him up”.

“He was slumped, he had no energy,” Ms Christian recalled.

“His PCV (packed cell volume) was 7 and it should be 35, so it was extremely low.”

Luke Kane, who carried out the rescue and transported the animal from Lismore, said he was also worried about the animal.

“I honestly didn’t have much hope I could make it to the wildlife hospital quickly enough to save him,” Luke Kane wrote online.

Dr Pyne said mammals don’t cope well with being anaemic, but fortunately there are animals in the sanctuary at Currumbin who can assist in these situations.

“We took the blood from a large, healthy male koala at the Sanctuary to help this little one!” the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital responded to a comment from a Facebook user. 

The animal is doing much better after having the ticks removed. Source: Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation/ Facebook

The koala is currently in rehabilitation at Friends of the Koala Inc. , an organisation based in Lismore.

“He’s in a kindy with four other joeys, he’s mingling well… he’s very active,” Ms Christian said.

“He’s doing really well. He’s very cute.”