Ehrlichiosis disease in dogs

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A rare and life-threatening tick-borne disease affecting dogs, called Ehrlichiosis, was first identified in Western Australia’s Kimberley region in May 2020.

This deadly disease has since been found across Australia, reaching endemic levels in some remote and rural indigenous communities and posing a significant threat to our dogs, particularly those in northern regions of Australia.

Ehrlichiosis is transmitted through a brown dog tick bite, and is not spread dog to dog.


Ehrlichiosis is a very serious disease.  Symptoms can vary but include fever, lethargy, reduced appetite, usual bleeding (nose bleeds, bruising etc), cloudy eyes, and early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics is needed.

However, in many remote communities it is often not identified until it is in the acute or chronic phase.  It has up to a 30% mortality rate at the acute phase and the suffering and death of these dogs is a devastating burden for communities, compounded by a lack of access to basic medical care.

Prevention & treatment

Ehrlichiosis is 100% preventable with effective tick treatments, but they do need to be the right ones.

As it is passed on through the tick bite, rather than passed on dog to dog, dog owners should be using effective products which can repel ticks, such as collars or spot-on product.

A systemic product like NexGard and NexGard SPECTRA, is effective at killing the brown dog tick.  However, to kill the tick they must attach and start taking a blood meal so, by the time they kill the tick, the transmission of Ehrlichiosis has already likely occurred.

This means whilst systemic products are still needed to control tick populations overall and protect dogs against the other internal and external parasites that can cause ill health in both pets,  dogs in affected areas will also need to wear a collar to repel the tick in the first place.

This two pronged approach is an ideal situation, but unfortunately in remote indigenous communities, access to preventatives is challenged due to both the cost of tick prevention, plus vet clinics can be thousands of kilometers away, making access to treatment should a dog be infected with Ehrlichiosis very difficult.

Improving dog health in local communities

Together with partners including Nexgard SPECTRA,   Darwin based charity AMRRIC (Aimal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities) has been working hard to improve health outcomes for the companion animals in remote and rural indigenous communities, and help protect them from the deadly Ehrlichiosis disease and other health issues.

This has included securing a large quantity of parasite medication through generous support from Boehringer Ingelheim, the manufacturers of NexGard SPECTRA which will assist with more dogs being protected from tick-borne diseases, fleas and other parasites.

Teams of veterinary service providers have been on the road non-stop delivering veterinary services and parasite protection. By providing anti-parasitic medications to at-risk communities, the threat posed by ticks infected with the Erhlichiosis bacteria is lessened.

How you can help

As Ehrlichiosis continues to spread into more communities, the work that AMRRIC is doing in collecting data and distributing anti-parasitic medication to prevent this zoonotic disease is increasingly important.

You can help by supporting the work of AMRRIC through donations and other partner campaigns.  To learn more about the greats work of AMRRIC, click HERE.

Protect your dog from fleas, ticks & parasites

No matter where you live it is important to protect your dog from fleas, ticks and parasites year round with a topical or chewable flea and worm treatment such as Nexgard, available from Petstock.

Looking for more dog tips and fun facts?

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