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a Tick caused Disease

in Dogs

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Tick-borne Diseases in Dogs - Ehrlichiosis
By: Tippy and Turbo

Ehrlichiosis is a tick-borne disease caused by one of
several Rickettsia which are microscopic organisms that are
somewhere between bacteria and viruses. Most often in dogs and
other canines the offending rickettsii is Erlichia canis. Humans
can also get the disease, but you are not in danger from
contact an infected dog, the disease is only transmitted by

Rickettsia are parasites that invade the cells of the body
and eventually kill the cell. The disease is commonly
carried by ticks (the Brown Dog Tick in the USA) and was a
major scourge to military dogs in Viet Nam. Ehrlichiosis
infects cats as well as dogs, but it is much less common in
cats. Purebred dogs, especially German Shepherds, seem to be
more vulnerable to this disease than crossbred dogs, and
middle-aged dogs have a higher occurrence than young dogs.

Erlichia are transmitted when an immature or mature tick
feeds on an infected animal (often a rodent) and then feeds
on a dog or other animal. Symptoms can include fever,
swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, bleeding disorders,
respiratory distress, and sometimes nervous system
disorders. The acute phase can last for up to a month.

It can be hard to diagnose the infection in the early stages
of the disease. After two or three weeks, the dog's immune
system should begin to produce antibodies against the
disease. But tests may not show the disease before this
time, since the test depends on the detection of antibodies.
Testing a few weeks later should show that the problem
actually was Ehrlichiosis.

As with many diseases, infections can affect individual dogs
in different ways. Ehrlichiosis is considered to have three
stages: acute (serious symptoms), subclinical (no outward
symptoms), and chronic (long term infection with mild

In other words, some dogs present with symptoms that are
simply mild, but other dogs become severely ill with life-
threatening symptoms. Some dogs may have few or no symptoms
at all but may carry a mild case the disease for months or
years, some dogs develop acute symptoms that go away quickly
with treatment.

A lot depends on the immune system of the infected dog. Dogs
with strong immune systems may go through the acute phase of
the disease without the owner even noticing, and make a full
recovery. If the dog's immune system is weak and the disease
is untreated or the dog's body simply can't control the
infection, the disease may progress to anemia and clotting
disorders with consequent bleeding episodes, eye problems
including bleeding, swollen legs and lameness, and even bone
marrow failure, leading to death.

Treatment may include blood transfusions if the anemia is
severe. Drugs in the tetracycline family are most often used
to kill the organisms. Recent testing has indicated that the
antibiotic enrofloxacin may also work. Traditionally dogs
were put on a course of antibiotics for ten days to a month,
but recent research suggests it may be better to continue
treatment for up to four months.

Important info to keep your Dog Healthy

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