Western Australian travellers are reminded to ensure their dogs are on a tick control program before travelling with them these holidays, to reduce the risk of their dog developing or spreading ehrlichiosis.
Ehrlichiosis is a serious disease of dogs spread by the bite of an infected brown dog tick. The disease was found for the first time in Australia in 2020 in WA and the Northern Territory.
WA Chief Veterinary Officer Michelle Rodan said holidayers travelling with their dogs to northern WA should be aware the disease was established in the Kimberley and had also been found in the Pilbara, Gascoyne and northern Goldfields.
“If you are taking your dog to northern WA, take steps to reduce the risk of ehrlichiosis in your dog by visiting your vet before travelling to obtain a suitable tick treatment,” Dr Rodan said.
“Treat your dogs for ticks regularly, both before and after your trip, and check them for ticks every day, especially around the neck, head, ears, armpits, belly and in between toes.
“If your dog shows any of the signs of ehrlichiosis, such as fever, lethargy, enlarged lymph nodes, loss of appetite, weight loss and bleeding disorders, contact your vet or 1800 675 888 for advice. Rapid treatment provides the best chance of recovery.”
Travellers leaving the Kimberley and heading south are also reminded of the dog movement conditions in place to reduce the spread of ehrlichiosis to southern areas of WA.
“Before leaving the Kimberley, ensure your dog is healthy, notify the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development at firstname.lastname@example.org, treat and check the dog for ticks and report any disease signs to a vet,” Dr Rodan said.
“Travellers leaving the Pilbara, Gascoyne and northern Goldfields are also encouraged to follow these conditions.”
Visit the DPIRD webpage agric.wa.gov.au/ehrlichiosis for more information about the disease signs and movement conditions.
Infected dogs do not directly transmit ehrlichiosis to people, however in rare cases, infected ticks may transmit the disease to people. See the WA Department of Health website for information on human health implications associated with ticks, as well as prevention, removal and first aid advice.
Jodie Thomson, media liaison (08) 9368 3937