Protecting Australia’s dog population from biosecurity diseases

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

The department is calling on all dog owners to be extra vigilant, following the dog disease ehrlichiosis becoming established in the north of Western Australia and in the Northern Territory.

Australian Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp, said ehrlichiosis disease is caused by a tick-borne bacteria called Ehrlichia canis and it is not yet known how it arrived in Australia.

“This disease was first detected in May 2020 in areas of northern Western Australia, and in June 2020 it was also confirmed in dogs in the Northern Territory,” Dr Schipp said.

“The brown dog tick, which is present across northern Australia, is the main carrier of this ehrlichiosis.

“With a warmer climate and spread of the brown dog tick vector, the risk is moving further south.

“If you own a dog, it is vital that your dog is on a tick control program if living or travelling to areas where the brown dog tick is present, including northern Australia.

“It is also vital that you check your dog for ticks, watch for symptoms and if your dog is unwell contact your private vet.

“This issue demonstrates how biosecurity diseases can impact on our animal health, and why we all need to do our part to keep an eye out for potential disease risks.

“Everyone has a role to play to safeguard Australia’s dogs from biosecurity risks. You can do your part by being aware of our biosecurity conditions and keeping an eye out and acting on possible risks within Australia.”

For more information on ehrlichiosis visit: outbreak.gov.au.

If you’re planning to bring your pet to Australia or want to know more about how we manage biosecurity risks in Australia visit agriculture.gov.au/cats-dogs.

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