Dog tests positive for ehrlichiosis in Victoria

A dog in Horsham has tested positive for ehrlichiosis – the first detection of this disease for an Australian-born dog in Victoria. The dog came from the Northern Territory where the disease is established.

Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Graeme Cooke urged all Victorian dog owners and veterinarians to be on the lookout for this new dog disease that is spread by brown dog ticks.

Dr Cooke said common signs of ehrlichiosis could include fever, lethargy, eye changes such as conjunctivitis, cloudy or red eyes; abnormal bleeding and swellings, small spots or bruising; and swellings on the body and limbs.

“When detected early, antibiotics may be used to treat the disease,” Dr Cooke said.

“Prevention is crucial as there is no vaccine for the disease. Protect your dogs from ehrlichiosis by regularly checking them for ticks, using effective tick control and seeking veterinary advice promptly if they become unwell.

“You should regularly check your dog for ticks by running your fingers through their coat, on the skin, paying attention to the head, neck, ears, chest, between their toes and around their mouth and gums.

“Be particularly vigilant if you’re taking your dog out bush and travelling interstate.”

Ehrlichiosis was found for the first time in an Australian dog in the Kimberley region in mid-2020. Since then, it has spread around the country and is now found in most states and territories.

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