New killer canine illness unfold by ticks

AgForce members are asked to be aware of the symptoms of a new canine disease that is transmitted by common brown dog ticks.

The bacterial infection canine Ehrlichiosis was first detected in Western Australia and the Northern Territory in May 2020 and is now affecting dogs in South Australia.

Symptoms include fever, lethargy, enlarged lymph nodes, discharge from the eyes and nose, weight loss, anemia, and abnormal bleeding. If not treated properly, they can lead to death.

Although the disease is not currently occurring in Queensland, experts warn if it does come here, tick-infested wild dogs could spread it and put working dogs at risk.

Producers are asked to consider revising their farm biosecurity plans when working dogs and farm visitors / tourists are traveling with their own dogs – especially when coming from the highway.

You should also be aware of the popular roadside rest areas for interstate travelers and avoid leaving your own working dogs outside in these areas.

Regular dog tick controls are also recommended (regular tablet, spot-on, or tick collar treatments), and dog owners should regularly check their dog for ticks.

Dogs infected with the disease cannot pass it on to other dogs. It can only be transmitted via infected ticks.

The brown dog tick is found in tropical and subtropical Australia, so infected ticks may also be found in other regions.

Ehrlichiosis is a nationally reportable disease. So, if you suspect your dog is showing signs of the disease, you must take him to your local veterinarian for an exam and blood test.

If your vet confirms Ehrlichiosis in your dog, they should report it to Biosecurity Queensland at 13 25 23 or by calling the National Emergency Animal Disease Hotline at 1800 675 888.

Infected dogs do not transmit Ehrlichiosis to humans, but infected ticks can, in rare cases, infect humans. The Australian Government Department of Health has information on ticks and human health precautions on its website.

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