Canine ehrlichiosis: Advice for dog owners

A small number of dogs brought into Queensland from the Northern Territory have tested positive for Ehrlichia canis. Biosecurity Queensland is working with the dogs’ owners to ensure the dogs receive appropriate care and treatment and do not pose a risk to other dogs.

Dogs become infected when bitten by an infected brown dog tick. Infection causes the disease ehrlichiosis, which can be fatal if not treated quickly and properly.

Since May 2020, infected dogs have been found throughout the Northern Territory and in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions of northern Western Australia. Infected ticks have also been found in APY lands (Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara) in northern South Australia.

Even though E. canis has not been found in dogs of Queensland origin, to protect your dog you should:

  • maintain your dog on an effective external tick control therapy that kills ticks on contact and stops them attaching to the dog – seek advice from your veterinarian on effective tick prevention and control options.
  • avoid taking your dog into tick-infested areas, such as the bush, as much as possible
  • regularly inspect your dog for ticks.

Even if you are taking these steps, if you are moving your dog from an area where E. canis is known to be active you should also assess your dog’s health before entering Queensland. If your dog has not been on a tick prevention program, is unwell, or you are unsure seek veterinary advice. Testing dogs prior to movement into Queensland will help ensure only healthy dogs are moved and E. canis is not introduced.

People moving or bringing dogs from interstate or adopting rescue dogs should always ask questions about where the animals came from, their health status and what tick prevention they have been on prior to bringing them to Queensland.

Speak to your veterinarian about protecting your dog from ticks.

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