September 23, 2021

Veterinarian Daily News

Veterinarian Daily News

Map shows where dog owners are in disease firing line | The Advocate

4 min read

news, national, news, dogs, dog, working dogs, canine, honesty, outbreak, disease

Dog owners should check the enclosed card if they want to know if their animals are the line of fire for the killing disease Ehrlichiosis. The fast-moving disease has already been spotted across most of the mainland, having been discovered in Australia just a year ago. Along with rabies, the Ehrilichia bacteria have been the primary target for Australia’s longstanding quarantine restrictions on the arrival of overseas dogs that have mysteriously failed. Tasmania has now introduced import regulations to keep the disease and the common brown tick that spreads it out. Ehrlichiosis is now believed to be endemic to the Northern Territory and most of these early cases came from dogs transported from the Top End. Experts say local cases will soon pop up wherever there are ticks, that is most of Australia. The above card was presented to an online meeting of animal health experts last week. The briefing was given by Professor Peter Irwin of Murdoch University, one of Australia’s foremost experts on the disease, and top-end veterinarian Bonny Cumming. Dr. Working on the front lines, Cumming said the effects of the disease have been devastating. “The introduction of cases to southern areas is inevitable,” she warned. “It really is a terrible disease that causes huge trauma.” The dog mortality rate for sick dogs in remote communities as well as in urban areas is one-third. Prof. Irwin said that cases of Ehrlichiosis in Australia were “much more severe” that were generally reported around the world. “Dogs in this country have never been exposed to this disease and have absolutely no immunity to it.” The experts said there was high tick infestation in tropical areas like the Top End, but the brown tick that carries the disease from dog to dog has been found across Australia. “This is a very serious outbreak in Australia,” said Prof. Irwin. “We need to increase our clinical suspicions of sick dogs, especially those that have moved or entered the north. “We should refrain from bringing dogs from the Top End to the south,” he advised people traveling around Australia with dogs, which were now possible carriers of the ticks and the disease. Dog owners have been advised to offer their pets two forms of tick prevention, there are no vaccines. The disease can be transmitted by tick bites for a few hours and can even remain in the dog for months or even years. Symptoms are typically fever, lethargy, enlarged lymph nodes, loss of appetite, discharge from the eyes and nose, weight loss, and anemia and bleeding.

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TICK HORROR: Thousands of dogs are dying and veterinarians in the Northern Territory are “covered in snow” by the disease outbreak.  Images: Campbell Costello (Insta - @outbackvets.)

TICK HORROR: Thousands of dogs are dying and veterinarians in the Northern Territory are “covered in snow” by the disease outbreak. Images: Campbell Costello (Insta – @outbackvets.)

Dog owners should check the enclosed card if they want to know if their animals are the line of fire for the killing disease Ehrlichiosis.

Along with rabies, the Ehrilichia bacteria have been the primary target for Australia’s longstanding quarantine restrictions on the arrival of overseas dogs that have mysteriously failed.

Tasmania has now introduced import regulations to keep the disease and the common brown tick that spreads it out.

Ehrlichiosis is now believed to be endemic to the Northern Territory and most of these early cases came from dogs transported from the Top End.

Experts say local cases will soon pop up wherever there are ticks, that is most of Australia.

Ehrlichiosis Potential Distribution Map in Australia.  Slide presented by Dr.  Bonny Cumming.

Ehrlichiosis Potential Distribution Map in Australia. Slide presented by Dr. Bonny Cumming.

The above card was presented to an online meeting of animal health experts last week.

The briefing was given by Professor Peter Irwin of Murdoch University, one of Australia’s foremost experts on the disease, and top-end veterinarian Bonny Cumming.

Dr. Working on the front lines, Cumming said the effects of the disease have been devastating.

“The introduction of cases to southern areas is inevitable,” she warned.

“It really is a terrible disease that causes huge trauma.”

The dog mortality rate for sick dogs in remote communities as well as in urban areas is one-third.

Prof. Irwin said that cases of Ehrlichiosis in Australia were “much more severe” that were generally reported around the world.

“Dogs in this country have never been exposed to this disease and have absolutely no immunity to it.”

The experts said there was high tick infestation in tropical areas like the Top End, but the brown tick that carries the disease from dog to dog has been found across Australia.

“This is a very serious outbreak in Australia,” said Prof. Irwin.

FLYING VET: Dr.  Campbell Costello, who worked in provisional surgery in the Outback NT, said the rapid spread of ehrlichiosis was similar

FLYING VET: Dr. Campbell Costello, who worked in makeshift surgery in the Outback NT, said the rapid spread of ehrlichiosis resembled “a war zone.” Image: delivered.

“We need to increase our clinical suspicions about sick dogs, especially those that have moved or have come from the north.

“We should refrain from bringing dogs south from the Top End,” he advised.

Dr. Cumming said there are large numbers of people traveling around Australia with dogs who are now possible carriers of the ticks and the disease.

Dog owners have been advised to offer their pets two forms of tick prevention, there are no vaccines.

The disease can be transmitted by tick bites within a few hours and can even lie dormant in the dog for months or even years.

Typical symptoms are fever, lethargy, enlarged lymph nodes, loss of appetite, discharge from the eyes and nose, weight loss, and anemia and bleeding.

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