FIRST CASE OF CANINE TICK-BORNE DISEASE EHRLICHIOSIS DETECTED IN SA
Source: ABC News (Extract)
Posted: April 15, 2021
South Australia has recorded its first case of canine ehrlichiosis — a disease caused by a tick-borne bacteria, that can be fatal to dogs if left untreated.
The disease was detected in a dog living in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, in the far north of the state.
South Australian Chief Veterinary Officer Mary Carr said the confirmation of the first case came as more ticks carrying ehrlichiosis were found in the APY Lands.
She urged dog owners to ensure their dogs were on an appropriate tick repellent program.
“As expected, these discoveries indicate the disease is now established in South Australia,” Dr Carr said.
“The ticks and the dog with the disease were found in APY Lands communities and surrounding areas, so dogs living and travelling in the far northern areas where tick numbers are higher remain at the highest risk.”
Ehrlichiosis was believed not to exist in Australia until it was confirmed in Western Australia’s Kimberley region in May last year and in the Northern Territory in June.
In December last year it was estimated that nearly 1,000 dogs had died from the disease in the Northern Territory as it rapidly spread through remote Indigenous communities.
Dr Carr said the best way to protect dogs from the disease was by preventing tick bites.
“You should also check your dogs every day for ticks, and avoid areas likely to be tick-infested,” she said.
“If your dog gets sick, tell your vet, including where and when you’ve travelled.”
Dog owners in the affected communities have been asked not to move their dogs around unless they are healthy and free of ticks.
“Dog owners in remote communities can reach out to local services like Nganampa Health Council which may provide advice and support for animal health.”
Dogs with ehrlichiosis can show symptoms of fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, abnormal bleeding (such as nose bleeds), pain and weight loss.
If not treated properly it can result in death.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regions said it was currently unlikely that dogs in the southern parts of South Australia would become infected, unless they had recently travelled to areas where infected ticks had been detected.
Infected dogs cannot transmit the disease to people. However, in rare cases ticks may infect people.
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