Don’t cross tick: ehrlichiosis in dogs

Victorian dog owners and veterinarians are reminded to be on the lookout for a new dog disease which is spread by the brown dog tick biting dogs.

Ehrlichiosis was found for the first time in Australia in the Kimberley region in mid-2020. It is now found across mainland Australia apart from Victoria and the ACT, after being confirmed in South Australia in the last week.

Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Graeme Cooke said symptoms could include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, cloudy eyes or conjunctivitis, pain, stiffness, nosebleeds, bruising on the gums or belly, and enlarged lymph nodes.

To date, no dog originating from Victoria has tested positive to ehrlichiosis, also known as canine monocytic ehrlichiosis (CME), a bacterial disease caused by Ehrlichia canis (E. canis).

“With dogs travelling readily around Australia, we need to be particularly mindful of these symptoms if they have come from another state or territory with confirmed cases and brown dog ticks present.

“​Reduce the risk of bringing the disease into Victoria by adopting or purchasing dogs within the state and avoid bringing dogs into Victoria,” Dr Cooke said.

“Protect your dogs from ehrlichiosis by regularly checking them for ticks, using effective tick control and seeking veterinary advice promptly if they become unwell. Be particularly vigilant if you’ve been interstate with your dog.”

Ehrlichiosis is potentially a deadly dog disease and there is no vaccine, but antibiotics may assist in managing the disease if affected dogs are treated early.

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.