Ticks are known to transmit different parasites that can cause serious conditions in both humans and dogs. They all cause similar symptoms and vets usually need to perform tests if they want to be able to confirm the parasite.
Ehrlichia canis is a representative of the rickettsia genus of bacteria and it is responsible for the disease in dogs known as ehrlichiosis. If left untreated, it can lead to fatal outcomes. This bacteria was considered to have been first noted in military dogs that went to Vietnam. Today, it is very commonly seen in places that have warm weather and cool winters, where ticks usually perish.
How can dogs get Ehrlichiosis?
It is unfortunately quite easy for your dog to get in contact with this parasite. It is commonly seen in dogs that are not properly protected against ticks. Dogs that often go in the woods and love to put their head in bushes are very known to bring back home some friends with them.
Another way for dogs to come in contact with ticks is if they live near livestock, as ticks love to stay on these animals too. Pastures, where these animals graze, are often very much a good spot for tick infestation.
What are the symptoms of dogs having Ehrlichiosis?
Owners are good at noticing that something is wrong with their dogs. The signs that point out to Ehrlichia in dogs can vary, depending on the stage the dog is in acute, subclinical, or chronic.
In the acute phase of the disease, the dog can have a fever, weight loss, trouble with breathing and quite often bleeding usually from the nose. This symptom is usually a good sign that helps the vet in diagnosing the patient, especially if the place where the dog lives is known to have ticks.
The subclinical phase means that the acute signs may have already passed but the owner has not noticed any of them. The dogs don’t show any clinical signs and suspicion of the disease can only be suggested from laboratory testing.
Dogs that have the chronic form of Ehrlichiosis, usually suffer from anemia, thrombocytopenia, and swollen limbs and in many cases, dogs may have kidney failure.
How do vets diagnose Ehrlichiosis in dogs?
Once owners get their dogs to the vet, they will perform a full body examination and draw out blood. Apart from CBC and biochemistry, vets will do snap tests that give results in less than 20 min. This is usually enough to confirm the presence of the parasite.
Treatment of Ehrlichia canis in dogs
When caught on time, the treatment is quite easy and has great outcomes, as long as the owners follow the instructions from the vet. It usually takes around 4 weeks of antibiotic therapy and supportive treatment for the dog to make full recovery.
Owners usually pay up to $250 for the therapy.