Research project: Parasite monitoring

Every dog and cat owner knows how important it is to regularly check their beloved pets for unwanted “tenants”. Such parasitological examinations to improve the health and well-being of zoo animals (and of our staff!) are an important task at the zoo as well.

The great diversity of our animal species poses special challenges: The parasite fauna of many species remains poorly known, complicating the development of effective treatments. Dr. David Ebmer, a member of our zoo veterinarian team, is specialized in parasitology and is conducting research at Schönbrunn Zoo in close cooperation with the zoological curators and the animal caretaker team.


Regular check-ups and targeted research help us to understand the complex life cycles and infection pathways of the parasites and to take action with tailored therapies.


The ongoing, evidence-based improvement of the hygiene concept for our zoo animals enables us to directly improve their health and well-being. Publishing our research results is an important contribution to helping other zoos and wildlife facilities use our experience and insights to the benefit of the animals under their care.


The zoo‘s regular monitoring effort yields laboratory protocols containing valuable data on the parasite fauna of our highly diverse zoo population. Our in-house parasitology lab enables us to examine and evaluate feces samples on-site.


Ebmer, D., Balfanz, F., Voracek, T., Hering-Hagenbeck, S., Pichler-Scheder, C., Walochnik, J., & Kniha, E. (2022). The Palearctic blackfly Simulium equinum (Diptera: Simuliidae) as a biting pest of captive nyala antelopes (Tragelaphus angasii). Zoo Biology, 1– 7.


Ebmer, D., Handschuh, S., Schwaha, T. et al. Novel 3D in situ visualization of seal heartworm (Acanthocheilonema spirocauda) larvae in the seal louse (Echinophthirius horridus) by X-ray microCT. Sci Rep 12, 14078 (2022).


Reitl, K & Ebmer, David & Kübber-Heiss, Anna & Walochnik, Julia & Sattmann, Helmut & Prosl, Heinrich. (2021). Hexametra angusticaecoides (Nematoda: Ascarididae) Infektion bei einem Pantherchamäleon (Furcifer pardalis) : ein Fallbericht. Wiener tierärztliche Monatsschrift. 108. 63 - 73.