Macropod Progressive Periodontal Disease (MPPD) is a well-recognised disease that causes high morbidity and mortality in captive macropods worldwide. Epidemiological data on MMPD are limited, although multiple risk factors associated with a captive environment appear to contribute to the development of clinical disease. The identification of risk factors associated with MPPD would assist with the development of preventive management strategies, potentially reducing mortality. Veterinary and husbandry records from eight institutions across Australia and Europe were analysed in a retrospective cohort study (1995 to 2016), examining risk factors for the development of MPPD. A review of records for 2759 macropods found incidence rates (IR) and risk of infection differed between geographic regions and individual institutions. The risk of developing MPPD increased with age, particularly for macropods >10 years (Australia Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR) 7.63, p < 0.001; Europe IRR 7.38, p < 0.001). Prognosis was typically poor, with 62.5% mortality reported for Australian and European regions combined. Practical recommendations to reduce disease risk have been developed, which will assist zoos in providing optimal long-term health management for captive macropods and, subsequently, have a positive impact on both the welfare and conservation of macropods housed in zoos globally.
Keywords: animal welfare; dental disease; epidemiology; kangaroo; wallaby; zoo.