Biosecurity Alert

Deadly Dog Disease Warning

[7 December 2022]

Dog owners are urged to ensure their dogs are on an effective tick-control program after a dog from Townsville was confirmed with the tick-borne disease canine ehrlichiosis last week.

Dogs can become sick with ehrlichiosis if they are bitten by a brown dog tick infected with the bacteria Ehrlichia canis (E. canis).  The tick is found widely throughout Queensland.

The best way dog owners can protect their dogs is to have them on a regular program using an external tick control product that kills and repels ticks on contact.  Oral products that require ticks to feed on the dog before killing the tick are less effective against preventing ehrlichiosis.  Veterinarians can provide advice on the best program to protect dogs.

Other preventive measures dog owners should consider include avoiding areas where dogs may pick up ticks, and inspecting dogs regularly for ticks and removing them carefully.

Dog owners should watch for signs of ehrlichiosis such as fever, lethargy, enlarged lymph nodes, bleeding disorders, discharge from the eyes and nose and loss of appetite or weight.  Owners should seek immediate veterinary advice if these signs are seen, as early treatment provides the best chance of recovery. 

Ehrlichiosis is a nationally notifiable disease.  Dog owners and carers, including dog rehoming organisations, have a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) in Queensland under the Biosecurity Act 2014 to take all reasonable steps to ensure they do not spread ehrlichiosis.

If your dog is showing signs of this disease, you should seek immediate veterinary advice.  A veterinarian who suspects or diagnoses ehrlichiosis must report it to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or contact the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

For more information visit Biosecurity Queensland.