A Closer Look At Ehrlichia Infection In Dogs – What You Can Do As A Pet Owner And How To Prevent It
It’s definitely a horrible experience seeing your pets sick and suffering. This is why a lot of pet owners do their best to make sure that their dogs get the proper nutrients and exercise they need. If you’re doing your best to keep your buddy healthy and safe then congratulations.
However, there are instances when our furry pals still get ill no matter how careful we are. This is definitely not your fault as an owner but it’s also important that you are aware of some of the illnesses that your dog may unknowingly get.
This is why in this article we will be talking about an infection called Ehrlichiosis. This specific condition can become a nightmare for many dog owners if not treated earlier on. The problem can escalate to very dangerous levels and may even cause death for your canine buddies and all it will take is a single tick bite.
What is Ehrlichiosis?
Ehrlichiosis in dogs is caused by a bacteria called Ehrlichia that is commonly transmitted to our pets by a tick bite. The bacteria can then be transmitted to another tick if they feed off an animal that suffers from this problem. The bacteria can strive inside that certain tick for up to 5 months. The problem can become recurrent. It may happen again if the dog gets bitten by a tick that carries the Ehrlichia bacteria.
What happens to dogs with Ehrlichia?
How your pets react to this illness will differ from the type of Ehrlichia bacteria they get as well as the strength of your pet’s immune system. Some dogs may have mild effects while others can suffer severely. It is also important to note that this illness has 3 stages namely the acute stage, the subclinical phase and the chronic phase.
The acute stage happens 1 – 3 weeks after your pet has been bitten by the tick and may last up to 2 – 4 weeks. During this phase your dog may suffer from anemia, fever, depression, lethargy, appetite loss and joint pains. There are some instances when a dog will be able to fight this infection but if not then the problem will progress to the subclinical phase.
During the subclinical phase your canine buddy may act normally as if nothing is wrong. This phase can last for months or even years. Again, your dog may still be able to fight the infection and release if from its body. However, if the bacteria is not released from your dog’s body then it will progress to the chronic phase.
The chronic phase can be quite scary for many dog owners. During this phase your dog may suffer from weight loss, bleeding, inflammation of the eye and fever. Your dog’s platelets may even drop to dangerous levels.
How is the problem diagnosed?
Ehrlichia is diagnosed through a special kind of blood test. During this test the doctor will be able to see the damage that the bacteria has done on your dog’s system, what organs it has already affected as well as your dog’s platelet count.
How is Ehrlichia treated?
Ehrlichiosis in dogs is commonly treated with the antibiotics tetracycline or doxycycline. Treatment usually lasts for 3 – 4 weeks depending on the severity of the problem. There are even cases when the dog may needs blood transfusion if their platelet count is too low.
Is there a way to prevent this from happening?
Unfortunately, there is currently no vaccine for Ehrlichia but the good news is that there is definitely a way to help prevent this from happening. One of the best ways is to make sure that your home and backyard is clean and clear of ticks or fleas. You can do this by regularly cleaning your home and your dog’s sleeping area. You can also ask your vet for some tick prevention medication that you can put on your dog to keep the ticks away.
Basically, Ehrlichiosis in dogs can be really scary if not treated immediately. This is why it’s important for dog owners to pay attention to how their dog is acting. If you notice lethargy, weight loss or a change in appetite then it’s definitely a good idea to have you dog checked.