Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Erhlichia and what you should know

The ticks are out, in some areas they never go away. We always hear about Lyme disease but Ehrlichia is something many people don’t hear about or don’t know what is it. So when your dog comes up positive for Ehrlichia you may get nervous as this is not something they are used to hearing.

Typically, Ehrlichia is diagnosed in warmer climates but this is not always the case. The ticks that carry Ehrlichia are found worldwide

Clinical Signs of Ehrlichia

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Enlarged Lymph Nodes
  • Lameness
  • Inappetance

The symptoms appear and last for a few weeks. After that time the symptoms may resolve and dogs can develop thrombocytopenia (low platelets). Some dogs can continue to show clinical signs if they enter the chronic phase of the disease. While 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 and even if they have no symptoms, your veterinarian may still recommend running blood work to check your dog’s platelet count. Your veterinarian may also recommend treatment even if your dog is showing no symptoms. 

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

Discuss with your veterinarian what prevention is best for your pet and their lifestyle.


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