A rare and life-threatening tick-borne disease affecting dogs, called Ehrlichiosis, was discovered in the Kimberley in May, and has since been detected in other regions in WA, as well as throughout the NT.
Due to restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic, roughly 27,500 dogs have had reduced access to veterinary services and parasite protection.
Improving dog health in local communities
So, together with its partners including PETstock Assist, AMRRIC (Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities) has been working hard to improve health outcomes for the companion animals in remote communities in the NT and protecting them from the deadly Ehrlichiosis disease.
Following the resumption of remote travel, teams of veterinary service providers have been on the road non-stop delivering veterinary services and parasite protection.
Working together to provide protection
To address this growing issue, AMRRIC has secured a large quantity of parasite medication through generous support from Boehringer Ingelheim, the manufacturers of NexGard which will assist with almost 3000 dogs receiving NexGard – a highly effective anti-parasite treatment targeting ticks, fleas and mange.
AMRRIC has also had additional support from PETstock Assist in coordinating stock delivery and providing a $10,500 donation of food and enrichment products for companion animals in remote communities.
PETstock Assist Charity and Events Coordinator, Jessica Guilfoyle, says supporting members of the community hardest hit by COVID-19 has been a key focus for the charity; “Throughout the pandemic our charity has been working closely with community groups such as AMRRIC to determine where the greatest need is, and how we can provide support.” she says. ‘Ehrlichiosis is only magnifying the need for this support to remote communities.
AMRRIC CEO Dr. Brooke Rankmore says: “AMRRIC works with our partners to provide support for companion animals in remote communities- when animals are healthy, people and communities are healthy.
Protecting dogs from the threat of Ehrlichiosis
Ehrlichiosis poses a massive threat to the health of not only dogs but the whole community. By providing anti-parasitic medications to at-risk communities, the threat posed by ticks infected with the Erhlichiosis bacteria is lessened.
Starting in September, AMRRIC will begin distributing NexGard, with the help of residents, to communities in need. This medication will treat dogs who may not have had access to vet services since 2019.
With Ehrlichia canis potentially making its way into more and more communities, the work that AMRRIC is doing in collecting data and distributing anti-parasitic medication to prevent this zoonotic disease new to Australia is increasingly important.