Queensland agricultural authorities have issued an urgent alert after a dog tested positive for a deadly disease with a high mortality rate.
Canine ehrlichiosis is spread through bacteria in the brown dog tick and is known to cause serious health issues, even death, among dogs.
Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) confirmed a dog had tested positive to the disease on July 1.
It is the first reported case of the disease in a Queensland dog.
A DAF spokesman said the border collie had travelled through Western Australia and the Northern Territory earlier this year.
The discovery in Queensland has prompted a government alert urging people to assess their dog’s health if they were moving into the state from an area where the disease was known to be active.
Ehrlichiosis was first detected in Australian dogs in WA’s Kimberley Region in May last year and again in the Northern Territory a month later.
“A veterinarian treated the dog after it displayed signs consistent with E. canis and sent samples to the Queensland government biosecurity sciences laboratory where the infection was confirmed,” the spokesman said.
“The dog owner is working with their private veterinarian to manage the case through appropriate therapy and tick management.”
The bacteria Ehrlichia canis (E. canis) is known to cause fever, bleeding disorders, weakness and result in a low platelet count in dogs.
According to Wildlife Health Australia, the disease has a high mortality rate during the chronic phase of infection.
The DAF spokesman said dog owners should maintain an effective tick control program, including regular inspections.
“Early treatment of infected dogs provides the best chance of recovery and acutely infected dogs that are appropriately treated have a good prognosis,” the spokesman said.
“There is no vaccine for E. canis.
“Infected dogs do not transmit E canis to humans or other animals.
“In rare cases, people may become infected with E canis after being bitten by an infected tick.”