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Authorities call for caution over tick-borne disease affecting dogs

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A small number of dogs, brought into Queensland from the Northern Territory, have tested positive for a potentially fatal tick-borne disease.

Biosecurity Queensland says three dogs, that travelled to Queensland in late January have been diagnosed with ehrlichiosis.

The condition occurs when dogs are bitten by an infectious brown tick, which can kill them if it is not treated quickly and properly.

Authorities are working with the owners to ensure the dogs receive the appropriate care and treatment and do not pose a risk to other animals.

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.

Queensland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Allison Crook says there have been no positive cases of originating in Queensland and authorities want to keep it that way.

“Dog owners can do their best friend a big favour by maintaining them on an effective tick prevention and control program," Doctor Crook says.

She says people should avoid taking their dogs into tick-infested areas such as the bush and regularly check them for ticks.

Doctor Crook says it is vital people moving dogs from known ehrlichiosis infected areas thoroughly check their dog's health.

“Testing dogs prior to moving them into Queensland will help ensure only healthy dogs are moved and ehrlichiosis 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 prior to bringing them to Queensland."

Anyone who suspects a dog is showing signs of the disease must report it immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Symptoms of ehrlichiosis include fever, lethargy, enlarged lymph nodes, loss of appetite, discharge from the eyes and nose, weight loss, and anaemia and bleeding disorders.

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