Thursday, October 17, 2019

Ehrlichia and what you need to know

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The ticks are out, and in some areas they never go away. We always hear about Lyme disease but Ehrlichia is something many people don’t know about. Ehrlichia is another tickborne disease. Typically, Ehrlichia is diagnosed in warmer climates but this is not always the case.

The ticks that carry Ehrlichia are actually found worldwide

Clinical Signs of Ehrlichia
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Enlarged Lymph Nodes
  • Lameness
  • Anorexia

The symptoms usually appear and last for a few weeks. After that time the symptoms may resolve. Some dogs this is all that happen while other dogs can develop thrombocytopenia or otherwise known as low platelets. Over time dogs can continue to show clinical signs if they enter the chronic phase of the disease. The good news is some animals don’t ever show symptoms.

Your dog is positive, Now what?

Typically many dogs are found to be positive on their heartworm test. There is a test available for heartworm disease that also tests 3 different tick borne illnesses. This test is routinely used in practice especially if in high tick areas.

If your dog came up positive but has no symptoms your veterinarian may or may not recommend running full blood work on your dog to check platelet count. Some veterinarians will automatically treat while others will just have the client monitor their dog.

If your dog has symptoms of Ehrlichia your veterinarian may want to not only run blood work on your dog but will most likely start treatment.

How is Ehrlichia treated?

Doxycycline is the first line of treatment for dogs with Ehrlichia. This is an antibotic that usually needs to be given for 21-30 days.

How can you prevention Ehrlichia?

Once your dog contracts Ehrlichia they absolutely can get it again. There is no vaccine for it at this time. You can prevent your dog from contracting Ehrlichia by protecting them from tick bites. Many people want a natural route but with a serious disease like Ehrlichia and many other tick borne diseases it is important to use veterinary approved tick prevention.

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