Ehrlichiosis in dogs, also known as canine hemorrhagic fever, is typically caused by the bacteria called ehrlichia canis, E. chaffeensis, or E. ewingii. Ehrlichiosis is transmitted by the bite of a tick. The tick becomes infected with this disease by biting an infected animal, and the tick will pass Ehrlichiosis when they feed on a healthy animal. This condition has been seen throughout the entire United States, and is capable of infecting all breeds and ages of dogs.
It has three phases, the acute phase develops one to three weeks after the dog gets bitten and lasts up to a month. Some commonly seen symptoms that occur during the acute phase of ehrlichiosis are the enlargement of the liver, spleen, and lymph nodes, fever, depression, anemia, loss of appetite, loss of weight, shortness of breath, joint stiffness and pain, and bruises. Most dogs are capable of fighting this infection off, but if they cant they will enter the subclinical phase. The dog will either finally fight this off or go into the chronic phase, which can produce symptoms of the previous phases along with more bad symptoms, such as neurological problems, inflammation of the eye, fluid accumulation in back legs, and bleeding. If your dog experiences any unusual symptoms, it’s always important to contact a veterinarian. The prognosis for Ehrlichiosis is usually good if the condition was treated in the acute phase. The longer the dog has had the condition, the worse the prognosis is.
A veterinarian will a complete blood count, platelet count, and a urinalysis on the dog.
The veterinarian will do blood tests on the dog to check for any abnormalities. Since bacteria cause ehrlichiosis, the treatment is an antibiotic. The dog will need to be on this antibiotic for several weeks. The prognosis of this condition is typically good as long as the dog receives the proper treatment. The best prevention for this condition is to prevent ticks from biting your dog. Tick repellent products are sold in stores, by brand names such as K9 advantix and frontline. The other way is to avoid letting your dog go in common tick infested areas.
It’s important to also know that ehrlichiosis infects many different species of animals, including humans. If your dog has ticks on them, you are at a higher risk because the ticks will be brought into your house. People do not catch this condition from their dogs; they have to be bitten by an infected tick.