Pet Care – Tick fever or Ehrlichiosis

Pet Care – Tick fever or Ehrlichiosis

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Tick fever or Ehrlichiosis – The most common disease here and our dogs’ main enemy. This worldwide disease transmitted by ticks is known as Ehrlichiosis. There are several erhlichiosis species that can affect dogs, but Ehrlicchia canis is the most common type. The spreading of this disease is due to infected ticks with the bacteria E.canis; usually the type of tick that carry them is Rhipicephalus sanguineus. The physiology of this disease can be divided into three phases:

Acute phase: replies in mononuclear infected cells, there is dissemination to multiple organs, microvasculitis, nonregenerative anemia, low white blood cells (leucopenia) and/or low platelets (trombocitopenia), mild increase in hepatic enzymes, diminish of serum albumina.

Subclinic phase: can last even years. Bacteria is spreading and antibodies are being produces; changes in blood work are usually found.

Chronic phase: there is an inefficient response from the host. The symptoms are usually related to the breed susceptibility, age, immune system and concomitant diseases. Chronic cases might show the same findings as the acute phase.

Most common symptoms are: depression–just a change in behavior is a reason to start paying particular attention; anorexia, usually related to the fever at the moment they are offered food, meaning no eating if they have fever at that moment; intermittent weight loss and fever; mucous membranes turn pale, (normal is pink); adenophaties; spleen enlargement, usually in chronic cases; bleedings, through the nose, urine or faeces; vomits, usually yellow, meaning bile; bad breath; uveitis; eyes color turns blue; neurological symptoms; joints ache; edema; kidney and liver abnormalities.

Diagnostics tests: complete bloodwork, Snap Test 4Dx, PCR and blood smear (hard to do and hard to find).
Treatment: mainly antibiotic, but a variety of other medicines might be needed depending on each particular case (Consult your Veterinarian).
Most important is to prevent your dogs from getting ticks; one infected tick will cause the acute phase of the illness in just 2 weeks.
There is a huge variety of medicines, poisons and shampoos available against ticks. Most recently, the Nexgard pill, given monthly, seems to be more effective, or a Bravecto pill given every 3 months. Drops like Advantix or Frontline, collars like Preventic from Virbac, shampoos like Tooms, medicated baths with poisons Bovitraz or asuntol, are part of this tick prevention.

Doing bloodwork periodically is necessary in this area. In our facility, lab results are done in just 10 minutes and they can save your best friend.

Diagnosing early is the key to successful treatments.

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