Fighting Parasites in Wadeye with Thamarrur Development Corporation

As readers may be aware, ehrlichiosis is a tick-borne disease that was first discovered in the Kimberley region, Western Australia in May 2020, and has since been detected in many remote communities across NT, WA and SA. Many communities have been hit hard by the disease and in some places reports of dog deaths have been high.

AMRRIC was approached by Thamarrurr Development Corporation (TDC) Healthy Homes Team Leader, Tom, in February for some help with the dogs in Wadeye. Propelled by a heavy wet season, tick numbers in Wadeye were unmanageable and dogs appeared to be sick from disease, with some even dying. In talking with Tom, AMRRIC Program Manager and veterinarian Dr Chelsea discerned that these signs were likely consistent with ehrlichosis. At that time, roads to Wadeye were too wet to drive and owners were unable to travel to Darwin for veterinary treatment. Dr Chelsea performed some virtual consults with dog owners with TDC Healthy Homes’ assistance.

However, the key to Ehrlichiosis prevention and management is tick control – and the Wadeye dogs still needed help. Wadeye is one of the largest communities in the Northern Territory and is estimated to be home to 800-ish dogs – so treating all dogs for parasites is no easy task!

The AMRRIC team, led by Project Officer Katrina, coordinated training of the TDC Healthy Homes’ team to deliver antiparasitic treatments to dogs in Wadeye. The AMRRIC and TDC Healthy Homes teams had a virtual meeting where they were able to share stories about the ticks and suspected tick sickness in Wadeye; demonstrate and learn how to correctly treat dogs for parasites; and, discuss and understand the risks of using antiparasitics in dogs and any relevant safety concerns for people. 

The TDC team reported they felt empowered to be able to help keep the dogs in Wadeye happy and healthy. AMRRIC staff were able to support the TDC Healthy Homes community effort remotely – helping to fill a gap while the AMRRIC team prepared for the next veterinary visit in June 2021.

Thank you to TDC and West Daly Regional Council for their continued support of AMRRIC’s companion animal management programs in Wadeye and especially to TDC for their ongoing promotion of responsible pet ownership in Wadeye and surrounding communities and outstations.

Author: RyanJones