Veterinarians are reminded to be alert for dogs that may present with clinical signs of Canine Ehrlichiosis, a notifiable disease caused by the bacterium Ehrlichia canis, spread by the brown dog tick. This is particularly important for dogs which may have recently travelled from the Northern Territory, northern Western Australia, or northern South Australia – including dog-owning holiday-makers returning home. Ehrlichiosis should be a differential in sick dogs that present with a history of tick exposure, especially in the absence of effective tick prevention.

Acute, sub-clinical and chronic phases of Ehrlichiosis are recognised, and the common clinical signs include fever, lethargy, corneal oedema, conjunctivitis, haemorrhagic eye changes, epistaxis and bleeding disorders, and limb and body oedema. Less common but still recognised clinical signs include anorexia and weight loss, muscle pain and stiffness, polyarthritis, splenomegaly, lymphadenomegaly, vestibular disease and seizures. Read more