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Canine Ehrlichiosis disease outbreak in the Kimberley

Canine Ehrlichiosis disease outbreak in the Kimberley

Canine Ehrlichiosis disease outbreak in the Kimberley

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I wanted to share some news about a disease transmitted by ticks, called Ehrlichiosis which is affecting dogs in the Kimberley region in WA’s north-west. Ehrlichiosis might be a bit of a mouthful to pronounce, but the reason I want to mention it, is firstly because it’s a notifiable disease – meaning if you suspect that your dog has it you must notify your pet or the State Government’s Emergency Animal Disease hotline. Secondly, there are now travel restrictions in place for moving dogs out of the Kimberley region in order to reduce the risk of spread of the disease outside of the
Kimberley region into southern WA.

Ehrlichiosis is caused by the bacteria Ehrlichia canis, and dogs can become infected if they are bitten by a brown dog tick which is infected with this bacteria. The disease occurs worldwide, particularly in tropical and sub-tropical areas. The first detection of the disease was in WA in in the Kimberley region back in May 2020, which was the first detection of Ehrlichiosis in dogs in Australia that had not been imported from overseas. The disease has since also been detected at locations in the Northern Territory as well.

The severity of the disease varies considerably among dogs. Ehrlichiosis has three phases of disease, an acute phase with early signs of disease including fever, lethargy, inappetance, weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes and bleeding disorders. There’s a subclinical phase where there are no obvious visible signs of disease, and a chronic stage with similar signs to the acute phase but in more severe form.

Now if you’re travelling with your dog through the northern regions of WA you need to follow the advice of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD). It’s important to note that you may only move dogs out of the Kimberley to southern WA in accordance with the following conditions or if approved by a DPIRD officer. Also, following recent detections of the disease in the northern Pilbara and Gascoyne regions of WA, it is also recommended that people moving dogs out of the Pilbara and Gascoyne regions also follow these conditions:

  1. Before moving a dog to southern WA, the person responsible for that dog must email DPIRD via with the responsible person’s details (name, address, email, phone number), the dog’s details (name, age, sex, breed, microchip number), product and date of tick treatment and details of destination for the dog.
  2. A dog being moved must be healthy.
  3. A tick treatment must be applied to the dog during the seven days before moving a dog. The tick treatment must be registered for Rhipicephalus sanguineus (brown dog tick) and applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. The person responsible for moving the dog must keep a record of the treatment for brown dog tick for six months after the movement.
  5. The person responsible for the dog must contact DPIRD if the dog becomes unwell following movement by calling the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

The above conditions apply to all people who have dogs, including temporary residents of the affected regions who have brought their dogs into the area, such as if you’re caravanning or travelling in the area.

If you have any further questions about the disease, or need advice around tick prevention products, you can always contact us here at the Animal Happiness Vet.

Further reading:

5 thoughts on “Canine Ehrlichiosis disease outbreak in the Kimberley

  1. Brenda Hughes

    What is the brand and name of the collar that you need to use in addition to the dog’s regular flea/tick/worm treatment please?
    Thank you

    1. drbeilby Post author

      Hi K,
      DPIRD detail the exact area as simply the “Kimberley region”.
      As a Perth based veterinarian I can’t offer any more detail than that I’m sorry!
      Please hit the links in the article to go to the relevant DPIRD pages or use the provided Govt Email address to ask the people who make these decisions.

  2. Jan

    This is so serious and tragic, I am led to believe it is down as far as Carnarvon already. I bought a Seresto collar and have seen, by doing some reading, to see a dog with with Canine Ehrlichiosis is devastating. Please, for the sake of your beloved pet, buy the collar.

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