|(Tropical Canine Pancytopenia)
Ehrlichia is a type of bacteria/parasite that infects dogs and other
animals worldwide, causing a disease called
ehrlichiosis (also called canine fever,tick fever,etc)
It is usally transmitted by ticks but has been spread by blood transfusion.
There are different types
Anaplasma platys is sometimes called
ehrlichiosis but this has been corrected recently.
Ehrlichia infects the white blood cells.
There are many species of Ehrlichia,
which infect a wide variety of animals,
but there are only a few that will affect dogs.
Ehrlichiosis occurs worldwide in areas where there are ticks.
While any dog can be infected,
German shepherds, are prone to more serious infections.
The brown dog tick and the Lone Star tick are the most common carriers
Signs and Symptoms
The signs of the illness depends on the
species of Ehrlichia involved and the immune
system of the dog. There are three stages:
Acute (Mild), sub clinical (Remission no signs)
and chronic (Sickness, organ failure etc).
The mild phase occurs
within the first few weeks of being infected
and is rarely fatal. Recovery can occur,
or the dog can enter sub clinical
(remission phase) which could last years.
Some dogs, go into the chronic phase,
where very severe illness can develop. However,
in medical practice it is difficult for care
givers to distinguish these phases.
Your dog may suffer from:
Loss of appetite
(nosebleeds, bleeding under skin looks like bruising)
Enlarged lymph nodes
Pain and stiffness
(due to arthritis and muscle pain)
Discharge from the eyes and/or nose
Vomiting and diarrhea
Inflammation of the eye
(Bad coordination, depression, paralysis)
Signs of other organ failure appear
in the chronic form, especially kidney disease.
It is difficult to confirm ehrlichiosis.
Blood tests typically show a low number of platelets
and sometimes decreased numbers
of red blood cellsand white blood cells.
Changes in protein levels in the blood .
Blood smears can look for the presence of the organisms.
If found, it can be confirmed. Blood can also
be tested for antibodies but this does not
confirm the parasite since a multitude of other pathogens
produce the same results. Specialized testing now can check for
genetic material from the parasite, this is the most
sensitive test, and the test is not widely available.
The dogs infected may also be suffering
with other diseases carried by ticks,
such as Babesia, Lyme disease, or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Infection with a bacteria called Bartonella has also been
found also with Erlichiosis and other tick borne diseases.
The presence of these other diseases can make symptoms
more severe and a accurate diagnosis more complicated.
Ehrlichiosis responds well to treatment with a antibiotic.
Improvement is usually very quick, but several
weeks of treatment is needed to ensure a full recovery.
In severe cases where blood cell counts are very low,
blood transfusions may be needed. Reinfection is possible if the ticks are still present.
Preventing ticks that carry is the
best means of prevention. Checking your dog
daily for ticks and remove them.
(Ticks must feed for at least 24-48 hours
to spread the disease). Especially in tick season.
Applying a monthly parasite
preventative to your dog. Tick collars, keeping
your yard maintained with a good pesticide.
Human Animals and Ehrlichiosis
Human animals can be infected, but infection is spread by infected tick bites,
not directly from an infected dog. In human animals, the disease
creates a fever, lethargy, headache and soreness.
It can be misdiagnosed as the flu, or other more common illnesses.
John A Sampson I
00 + 1 + 989-662-6230 International
"The Dog Training