Brown Dog ticks & the new disease of Ehrlichiosis

Brown dog ticks & the new disease of Ehrlichiosis.


What is a brown dog tick?

The Brown Dog tick gets its common name from its overall reddish colour. It has 6-8 legs, is an oval shape and becomes grey-blue when engorged.   In the past we were pleased when a dog got one of these on them because at least it wasn’t the dreaded paralysis tick but now we aren’t so blasé.


These ticks have been found to cause Ehrlichiosis, an emerging disease found in dogs caused by a tick-borne bacteria called Ehrlichia Canis. Symptoms of this disease can resemble many other conditions with similar signs so if you are unsure, your veterinarian can examine and discuss diagnosis and treatment options.   It hasn’t been found in NSW yet but that’s is only a matter of time & if you do go travelling interstate then your pet is definitely more at risk.


According to National pest & disease outbreaks, the brown dog tick has been confirmed in parts of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and in South Australia. An in depth look at the brown dog tick, where it has been found and information on the current conditions of travel with your dog can be found here


Tick prevention


Traveling with your dog can increase the risk of being exposed to this disease. We recommend that if you are travelling to areas where the brown dog tick is present that you can do the following to reduce their risk of contact:

  • Using tick prevention such as Bravecto spot-on or chews
  • Inspecting your dog regularly for ticks, especially if they have been in a tick infested area. To do so, run your fingers through your dog’s coat, over their skin and feel for any abnormal bumps. Pay attention to the head and neck, inside the ears, o their chest and under their front legs, between their toes and around their mouth and gums.

Avoid travelling with your pet to areas where significant tick populations occur unless you have them well protected.



How Do Dogs Get Heartworm?


The heartworm cycle begins when a mosquito bites an infected dog. The mosquito swallows the blood containing tiny larvae (baby pasrasites), and develops the larvae further inside the mozzie. The mosquito then deposits the now-infected larvae into another dog the next time it feeds.

What Does Heartworm Disease Looks Like?

The infected larvae mature slowly over six months until they reach full adult size, which can be up to 30cm long. The worms attached to the walls of major blood vessels & inside the heart itself, increasing the heart’s workload and restricting bloodflow to the lungs, kidneys and liver.

Many dogs with heartworm have no obvious symptoms. Visible symptoms may take as long as a year or more to appear when much of the damage has already been done. Dogs with severe heartworm infestations have a cough and are clearly unwell. Sudden death can also occur.

By the way cats don’t get heartworm very often but in them it causes sudden death rather than a cough.

How Vets Diagnose Heartworm?

If a dog has not been on prevention &/or has symptoms we can take a sample of blood & run a test in-house.

Can Heartworm Be Treated?

Yes, but treatment is risky, difficult and costly.

How is Heartworm Prevented?

ProHeart SR-12 is a yearly injection that takes away the need for you to remember a monthly treatment.

Other heartworm preventions include a liquid applied to the skin or a monthly chew or tablet.


The good news is that veterinary heartworm preventions work very, very well.