Tick Disease (Ehrlichiosis) Continues to Spread

Pet owners and pest managers alike must be aware of the threat that ehrlichiosis poses to dogs. 


Ehrlichiosis, the lethal tick-borne disease that affects dogs, has now spread to the east coast of Australia. A dog tested positive for ehrlichiosis in Townsville at the end of 2022.

Ehrlichiosis was first detected in Western Australia in 2020. Although it is unclear as to how the disease arrived in the country, it is spread by the brown dog tick. With the range of the brown dog tick reaching as far south as northern New South Wales and around to Perth, pet owners across top half the country need to be aware.

The disease is caused by a bacteria that attacks the dog’s immune system and causes a range of symptoms including bleeding, anaemia, lethargy and fever. With no vaccine available, preventing potential tick bites is key to protection. In addition to on-pet tick treatments, tick treatments in the yard can be useful in keeping tick numbers down.

Unlike the paralysis tick, which is only found outdoors in leaf litter, the brown dog tick can be found inside. In fact, it is capable of completing its whole life cycle indoors. The female will lay eggs in any crack and crevice it can find – not only in cracks in floorboards but cracks and crevices on walls and ceilings, such as behind wall hangings.

As a result, brown dog tick infestations require thorough inspection and treatment, using a spray registered for tick control.

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