Tick alert: Ehrlichiosis detected in Australia

Tick alert: Ehrlichiosis warning for Qld dogs

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Dogs become infected with ehrlichiosis canis after being bitten by an infected tick, typically the brown dog tick (pictured).

Dogs become infected with ehrlichiosis canis after being bitten by an infected tick, typically the brown dog tick (pictured).

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Queensland dog owners have been warned to be on the look out for tick-borne disease ehrlichiosis.

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QUEENSLAND dog owners have been warned to be on the look out for tick-borne disease ehrlichiosis, following its detection in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Biosecurity Queensland is undertaking surveillance to determine whether the bacterial disease is present in Queensland dogs.

Although found worldwide, it is the first time ehrlichiosis has been detected in Australia.

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

Suspected cases should be reported immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Once the disease is in the brown dog tick population, it is very difficult to control. - Dr Allison Crook, Queensland chief veterinary officer

Queensland's chief veterinary officer Allison Crook said dogs became infected with Ehrlichia canis after being bitten by an infected tick, typically the brown dog tick, which is common in most areas of Australia, including Queensland.

Although infected dogs did not directly transmit the disease to other dogs or people, in rare cases, people can become infected from a tick bite, she said.

Vets are being urged to submit samples for testing to Biosecurity Queensland from dogs showing signs consistent with ehrlichiosis.

"I also encourage local government animal control and animal management officers to provide details of suspected cases," Dr Crook said.

"Once the disease is in the brown dog tick population, it is very difficult to control."

Dr Crook said to help prevent the disease in dogs, owners should maintain an effective tick control program, avoid taking dogs into tick-infested area such as the bush where possible, and inspect dogs for ticks after being in tick-infested areas and carefully remove ticks.

- Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline: 1800 675 888.

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