Flick the tick, help stop ehrlichiosis

News release | 19-Feb-2021

Dog owners and veterinarians are being urged to be dog’s best friend by remaining vigilant to stop the spread of the tick-borne disease, ehrlichiosis.

Queensland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Allison Crook said ehrlichiosis had now been detected in dogs in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

“To date, there have been no positive detections of ehrlichiosis in Queensland dogs and Biosecurity Queensland wants to keep this unwanted visitor out,” Dr Crook said.

“Dog owners can do their best friend a big favour by maintaining them on an effective tick prevention and control program; where possible, avoid taking them into tick-infested areas such as the bush; and regularly inspecting their dog for ticks.

“Veterinarians should submit samples for testing from dogs showing signs consistent with ehrlichiosis.”

Dr Crook said Biosecurity Queensland wanted to avoid a repeat of a recent incident where a small number of dogs that travelled to Queensland from the Northern Territory tested positive to ehrlichiosis.

“It is vital that people moving dogs from known ehrlichiosis infected areas thoroughly assess the likelihood that their dog might be infected,” Dr Crook said.

“People moving or bringing dogs from interstate or adopting rescue dogs should always ask questions about where the animals came from, their health status and what tick prevention they have prior to bringing them to Queensland.

“Testing dogs prior to moving them into Queensland will help ensure only healthy dogs are moved and ehrlichiosis is not introduced.”

Dr Crook said ehrlichiosis was a tick-borne disease caused by the bacteria Ehrlichia canis (E. canis).

“Dogs become infected with E. canis after being bitten by an infected tick, typically the brown dog tick which is common in most areas of Australia, including Queensland,” Dr Crook said.

“Although they can vary considerably among dogs, symptoms typically include fever, lethargy, enlarged lymph nodes, loss of appetite, discharge from the eyes and nose, weight loss, and anaemia and bleeding disorders.

“Ehrlichiosis is a nationally notifiable disease and anyone who suspects a dog is showing signs of the disease must report it immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.”

Detailed information for veterinarians about sampling and how to submit samples is available online at business.qld.gov.au by searching for ‘Ehrlichia canis information for veterinarians’.

For more information visit business.qld.gov.au and search for ‘E. canis’, or call the Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23.

Follow Biosecurity Queensland on Facebook Instagram and Twitter (@DAFQld).

Media contact: DAF Media, media@daf.qld.gov.au