Should you be concerned about the new tick disease

If the last 12 months have taught us anything, it’s that new diseases can seemingly appear out of nowhere, leaving us scared and confused about just how it will affect our lives – the same can happen for our pets.
By now you have probably heard it on the news, or read about it in the paper. The question you’re probably asking yourself is ‘should I be concerned about this new tick disease?’.
Today we will divulge everything we know about canine ehrlichiosis (yes, IT has a name).

How it began

In May of 2020, vets in WA observed dogs suffering from symptoms consistent with severe tick fever. Dogs were tested for a disease known as canine ehrlichiosis, which had never been found in Australian dogs before.
Before long, more than 300 dogs across WA and the Northern Territory had tested positive for canine ehrlichiosis. Recently cases have been reported in South Australia and it is feared that this disease could spread to more populous areas in southern and eastern Australia.

How to recognise the symptoms

Dogs may become infected when bitten by a tick carrying the bacterium which enters white blood cells and multiplies rapidly.  Physical signs of illness occur approximately 2 weeks after transmission and may cause:
·         fever
·         lethargy
·         enlarged lymph nodes
·         loss of appetite
·         discharge from the eyes and nose
·         sudden weight loss
·         nosebleeds or bleeding under the skin (which can take on the appearance of small spots, patches, or bruising)

How to protect your dog

As it stands, there are no reports of canine ehrlichiosis on the east coast of Australia however it always pays to be vigilant.
Here are some ways to prevent your dog from suffering tick bites:
-       Inspect your dog for ticks every day. This doesn’t need to be a cumbersome task, simply paying close attention to your dogs coat and limbs when you give them a pat will suffice
-       If you are travelling to areas where ticks are heavily prevalent (wooded and grassy areas and moist/humid areas) ensure your dog is up to date with tick prevention medication and/or products such as collars and sprays.
-       Keep your grass nice and short to prevent attracting ticks who love long grass.