The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has advised dog owners to maintain an effective control program against ticks, so their animals do not fall victim to the disease ehrlichiosis.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and for Rural Communities, Mark Furner said that with the wet season now well under way, dogs needed their owners to do all they could to protect them from the tick-borne disease.
“We do not want dog owners to go through the trauma of seeing their beloved dogs suffering the effects of this horrible disease,” Mr Furner said.
“In late January, a dog that was reported as not having travelled outside of Queensland was confirmed with ehrlichiosis, meaning this disease has likely found its way into our tick population,” he said.
Mr Furner said that as ticks were more prevalent during the wet season, dogs should be on a tick prevention program that repelled and killed ticks.
“Dog owners should watch for any signs of illness, avoid taking dogs into tick-infested areas such as the bush where possible, and regularly inspect dogs for ticks and carefully remove ticks,” the Minister said.
“Whether your dogs are working dogs or family pets, the only tick they should get is the one that shows you have taken them to your local vet to get good advice and appropriate products to protect them.”
He said dogs could become infected after being bitten by an infected brown dog tick, which was common in most areas of northern Australia.
“Although they can vary considerably among dogs, clinical signs typically include fever, lethargy, enlarged lymph nodes, loss of appetite, discharge from the eyes and nose, weight loss and anaemia, and bleeding disorders,” Mr Furner said.
“Everyone involved with dogs has a general biosecurity obligation under the Biosecurity Act 2014 to take all reasonable steps to ensure they do not spread a pest, disease or contaminant,” the Minister said.