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