Local vets are warning dog owners against a disease new to Australia that is transmitted by infected brown dog ticks.
Ehrlichiosis is caused by the bacteria Ehrlichia canis and can cause serious illness and even death in dogs.
Currently, brown dog ticks are present in parts of Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia.
And whilst no cases have originated in NSW as of yet, nine dogs have come into the state whilst infected.
Dr Kim Martel from Yoogali Veterinary Centre said it was critical that dog owners maintained effective tick prevention programs in light of this relatively new disease.
"We definently don't want Ehrlichiosis to be spread around the Riverina, the impact on canine health would be severe"
According to Elanco Technical Services Veterinarian Dr Liisa Ahlstrom, the disease has been identified as the cause of death for hundreds of dogs since it was first detected on Australian shores in 2020 and is spreading quickly across the country.
"Unless we stop its spread, the disease could become much more common" Dr Ahlstrom said.
The symptoms of Ehrilichiosis can vary however usually include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, discharge from the eyes and nose, weight loss, anemia and bleeding.
Dr Peter Brunsdon from Leeton Veterinary Hospital said that pet owners need to remain vigilant when travelling to and around known tick areas.
"Owners need to be observing their pet at all times for symptoms, especially when travelling, and watching for signs and symptoms of illness" Dr Brunsdon said.
"If signs of illness are present, dogs need to be taken to the vet as soon as possible for ongoing treatment".
Dr Ahlstrom also said it was important to note that not all infected dogs will show signs of infection.
"The suffering of dogs that contract ehrlichiosis can be devastating, and it is so hard to prevent transmission as it only takes one bit from an infected tick".
Australia's Chief Veterinarian Dr Mark Schipp said that Ehrilichiosis was the most serious threat to canine health in Australia in more than 30 years.
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