I've found a sick lorikeet, what do I do?

Wildlife Posted Feb 6, 2024
It could be Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome! Thousands of lorikeets are treated at the RSPCA for LPS every year.

Lorikeets are the most common species of native animals we treat at our Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre. Last year our RSPCA wildlife team cared for 3,065 lorikeets and from spring through to summer - the vast majority of patients are presenting with Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome (LPS).

The syndrome is primarily seen in rainbow and scaly-breasted lorikeets. If left untreated, the birds are unable to feed themselves and die from dehydration and starvation.

“Every summer we treat hundreds of lorikeets with LPS. The syndrome is mainly on present in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and some in Gympie,” says RSPCA Queensland Wildlife Vet Tim Portas.

“It is treatable when found early but requires weeks of intensive care for the birds.”

Symptoms of Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome:
  • Inability to fly
  • Varying degrees of paralysis of the legs and wings
  • Hopping / wobbly
  • Voice changes
  • In serious cases, paralysis may affect the whole body and the bird may be unable to blink or swallow

The cause of Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome is still unknown, but research is ongoing.

Dr Portas says, “We are currently collecting intestinal contents and faeces from severely affected lorikeets and working with Universities to perform plant DNA studies in the hope to find what lorikeets are eating that could be causing the disease.”

If you notice a lorikeet with any of the above symptoms call the RSPCA’s 24/7 Animal Emergency Hotline 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625), or your nearest wildlife carer. You can also take the bird directly to your local vet or wildlife hospital.

Lorikeets being released into their enclosure by RSPCA Queensland Wildlife Vets

New TV Series - Wildlife ER

An exciting new television series is launching on SBS Australia – Wildlife ER! Produced by Wild Bear Entertainment, the program showcases Australia’s busiest Wildlife Hospital based at RSPCA Queensland in Brisbane. Last year, over 27,000 wildlife required care at RSPCA Queensland. Most of these animals were victims of habitat loss, disease, road trauma, dog attacks or natural disasters. The new TV series gets up close and personal with iconic Australian wildlife and showcases wildlife vets, nurses, rescue officers, wildlife carers and volunteers in action. Catch up on the show with SBS On Demand.

A brighter future for wildlife in Queensland with your support

Our RSPCA teams are rescuing 24,871 animals every year in Queensland. In order to continue to save lives, we need to improve our capacity to care.

A new, purpose-built Wildlife Centre of Excellence will provide opportunities to better care of wildlife through better resourcing, technology and investment in research and education. Your support helps ensure our wildlife still have a future in the wild.

Lorikeets in care at RSPCA Queensland

Emma Lagoon
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