Our eastern state family and friends are (hopefully) well versed in the dangers that ticks can present to our domestic pets as the deadly paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus) can be found along the eastern seaboard.
In these locations, regular tick prevention is a mainstay of preventative care and in the last 5 years, new products that are highly efficacious against paralysis tick have reduced the incidence of this disease dramatically.
Traditionally, here in South Australia, ticks have not been of concern as while the Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) can be found throughout the state, they have not carried disease that can be harmful to our pets.
In June last year, a previously exotic bacterial disease to Australia, Ehrlichia canis was identified in Brown Dog ticks in the Northern Territory and Northern Western Australia.
Since then, there have been several confirmed cases of E. canis in dogs and some restriction on movement of dogs have been put in place in WA.
Recently, Brown dog ticks carrying the disease have been found for the first time in Northern South Australia, sparking concern and the need for vigilance in our SA dog populations.
E. canis is spread through the bite of the tick and can cause a range of symptoms in a disease called ehrlichiosis.
Some signs to look for include fever, lethargy, inappetence, swollen lymph nodes or unusual bleeding or bruising.
This can be quite acute or can be quite delayed, so if your dog displays some of these symptoms and you have been travelling, please inform your vet so they can consider it as a potential diagnosis.
There is no need for panic or alarm, just awareness, particularly if you are planning to travel with pets through northern SA.
There are a range of preventative products that come as either spot on, chewable tablets or collars that can be used to protect your pet and your local vet will be able to provide appropriate advice should you have any questions.
The benefit of having your pet on one of these products is that it will concurrently protect them from fleas and two different types of mange, ensuring your pet is safe from parasite and you don’t need to worry about the creepy crawlies.
Dr Mary Carr, SA Chief Veterinary Officer says the risk to dogs located in the southern parts of the state is low, but it is important to be vigilant and consider appropriate protection.
For more information go to https://www.pir.sa.gov.au or drop into your local vet who will be happy to help.