Brown dog ticks have been blamed for spreading ehrlichiosis in Western Australia and the Northern Territory (Photo: WA DPI)

July 8, 2020

Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has warned that a serious dog disease, ehrlichiosis, has recently been found in dogs in north Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The dogs became infected with a bacteria (Ehrlichia canis) after they were bitten by an infected brown dog tick.

E. canis was detected in a small number of domesticated dogs in the Halls Creek and Kununurra area in May.

This was the first time E. canis has been detected in Australia although the pathogen is present in the United States, South America, Asia and Africa.

Further detections have occurred in the Pilbara, Katherine, and a community west of Alice Springs.

A DAF spokesperson said the disease had not been found in dogs in Queensland but dog owners should always take steps to protect their animals from tick bites.

“An effective tick control program is the best way to protect your dog from diseases from ticks. Maintain an effective tick control program, and be sure to follow the instructions exactly or the treatment may not work,” DAF said.

“Avoid taking your dog into tick-infested areas, such as the bush, as much as possible.

“Inspect your dog for ticks regularly and carefully remove ticks.

“Speak to your veterinarian for advice about tick control and removal, and if your dog is sick seek treatment from your veterinarian.”

Dogs cannot transmit the disease to each other, however, the organism can be transmitted directly from dog to dog through blood transfusions.

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