Healing the Rescued Koalas


The recent devastating Australian bushfires have killed an estimated one billion animals, including the koala. The native species has existed in Australia for thousands of years and has become iconic of the country.

The 2019 bushfires have accelerated the decimation of the already-endangered koala population. Authorities estimate that one-third of the current koala population has died in the bushfires. In addition, their habitats and food sources have been destroyed. Experts say it could take over 100 years for the koalas to repopulate to pre-bushfire levels.

Fortunately, many good Samaritans are helping to rescue and treat injured koalas, which have escaped with severe, painful burn injuries.

Enter the staff and volunteers at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital in New South Wales, Australia. The Koala Hospital normally treats 3-4 koalas a month, but the facility has been at capacity during the 2019 bushfire season, treating 60+ koalas at any one time.

After seeing extensive media coverage of the hospital’s incredible recovery efforts, veterinary equipment distributor REM Systems introduced a technology manufactured near Cleveland, Ohio to help relieve pain and accelerate healing in the marsupials: Multi Radiance MedicalSuper Pulsed Laser Therapy.

The staff immediately started noticing results on the painful burns once they incorporated the laser into the regular treatment regimen. “We’ve had a lot of burn cases over the years and I really think it did speed up the healing process,” remarked Cheyne Flanagan, Port Macquarie Koala Hospital Director.

The Koala Hospital staff also appreciated the cordless, handheld laser for its ease of use and treatments that only take a few minutes to administer.

Low-level laser therapy has been studied and used in both human and veterinary medicine for over half a century. Multi Radiance Super Pulsed Laser Therapy technology emits light photons that penetrate deep into tissue and kickstart the healing process in the injured cells. Additionally, a unique blue light setting kills bacteria and helps fight infection, allowing burns to heal up to 50% faster than traditional antibiotics.

Multi Radiance technology is super pulsed, meaning the laser is emitted in billionth of a second pulses so it generates no heat. This makes it an ideal treatment for painful burns and open wounds. Other high-intensity therapeutic lasers would not be indicated for such severe wounds.

Saving koalas is one of the first steps in recovery for those areas affected by the fires. Experts predict the effects of the bushfires will be felt for decades – even centuries for certain populations like the koala – but Multi Radiance is grateful to be able to support the veterinarians and community members as they begin to rebuild.

“Thank you to Simone Taylor and Matt Jones, DVM, at REM Systems for your work introducing laser therapy to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital,” said J. Mark Strong, Multi Radiance Director of Global Business Development. “We are proud to support the hardworking veterinarians as they work tirelessly to save this iconic species, and we’re humbled that our technology is making a difference in their road to recovery.”

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital is accepting a variety of donations, such as adopting a recovered koala to help it return to the wild or having a koala food tree planted. Find out how you can help by visiting the koala hospital's website.

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13 Feb 2020

By Staff