Ehrlichia canis

Ehrlichia canis, the causative agent of canine ehrlichiosis, was detected in a small number of domesticated dogs in the Halls Creek, Northern Territory and Kununurra, Western Australia area in May 2020. This was the first detection of Ehrlichia canis (E. canis) in Australia. Further detections have occurred in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

E. canis was later confirmed in domesticated dogs in Katherine and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory and ticks carrying E. canis were recently detected in the north of South Australia.

E. canis has not been detected in dogs that have lived in NSW for their entire lives. Four dogs that were brought into NSW from the Northern Territory have tested positive for E. canis and are under veterinary supervision by private veterinarians.

Ehrlichiosis is a disease spread by the brown dog tick. It primarily affects dogs. It can result in death if not properly treated.

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

Veterinarians can download a copy of the Guidelines for veterinarians - Infection with Ehrlichia canis (Ehrlichiosis) (Northern Territory Government) (PDF, 292 KB) to understand E. canis and help decide whether to test for the disease.

Information for dog owners

E. canis is spread by the brown dog tick and is not passed directly from dog to dog, the risk of spread is reduced if dogs are treated for the bacteria or have been protected through a tick prevention treatment.

The risk of E. canis is higher when dogs from the NT or WA are brought into NSW, dog owners should always check where a dog is from before moving the animal into the state.

Protect your dog from potentially contracting E.canis by starting a suitable tick preventative treatment and daily checks and removal of ticks. Dogs should be checked for ticks in the following locations:

  • Head
  • Ears
  • Neck
  • Belly
  • Armpits
  • In between the toes
  • In and around the mouth and gums.