Protect your dog from Ehrlichia canis

8 Feb 2021

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) is advising dog owners to be alert, not alarmed, after the detection of ticks carrying the disease Ehrlichiosis in South Australia.

Ehrlichiosis is a disease spread by the brown dog tick. It primarily affects dogs and can be fatal if not properly treated.

Acting NSW Chief Veterinary Officer, Paul Freeman, said Ehrlichia canis (E. canis) is spread by the brown dog tick and it cannot be passed directly from dog to dog.

“If dogs are being treated and/or have tick prevention then the risk of spread is very low,” said Mr Freeman.

E. Canis has not been detected in any NSW origin dogs but several dogs which were brought into NSW from the Northern Territory were diagnosed as positive to E. canis and are undergoing veterinary treatment.”

NSW DPI is focusing on raising awareness and the education of pet owners, vets and shelters to ensure they are aware of the clinical signs and actions required. The department supports the testing of dogs and provides technical advice.

“NSW has a surveillance plan which includes testing dogs with clinical signs consistent with E. Canis and targeted surveillance, including retrospectively testing historical samples. To date, results from all these tests have been negative,” said Mr Freeman.

“People moving or bringing dogs from interstate or adopting rescue dogs should ask questions about where the animals came from and what tick prevention they have.

“Every person bringing dogs into NSW has a general biosecurity duty to ensure as far as is reasonably practicable the biosecurity risk of bringing E. canis into NSW is prevented, eliminated or minimised.”

Dogs which have been diagnosed and are undergoing veterinary treatment for ehrlichiosis do not pose a health risk in transferring the disease to other dogs.

Infection with E. canis is a notifiable disease in Australia. If you suspect ehrlichiosis in any dog in NSW, call the Emergency Animal Disease hotline on 1800 675 888.

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