How many of you have heard of Ehrlichiosis? If you own a dog in Atlanta, you need to know about Ehrlichiosis.
Canine Ehrlichiosis (pronounced ur-lik-ee-oh-sis) is caused by two species of bacteria, Ehrlichia canis and Ehrlichia ewingii. They are carried by the Brown Dog tick and the Lone Star tick respectively. Both types of ticks are found in the Atlanta area and may even be in your own backyard. The Brown Dog tick is actually one of the most common species of ticks found in Atlanta (www.atlantalawncareguide.com).
Symptoms of Canine Ehrlichiosis include lethargy, poor appetite, weight loss, fever, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, spontaneous bleeding, and discharge from the nose and eyes. However, there are frequently no symptoms at all. Left untreated, Ehrlichiosis can produce a chronic long lasting infection and even death. Some veterinarians even call Ehrlichiosis the “silent killer” since there are often no clinical signs of the disease. Diagnosis is usually accomplished with a blood test, but frequently when there are symptoms, they exhibit many other diseases so many vets don’t think about Ehrlichiosis. Also, some heartworm tests that are conducted at your local veterinary hospital also test for Ehrlichia. Ask your vet hospital if your pet’s yearly heartworm test also screens for Ehrlichiosis.
Thankfully, if caught early, treatment for Ehrlichia is simple and effective. A round of doxycycline usually does the trick. Canine Ehrlichiosis can be prevented by practicing good tick prevention measures with your dog. Many over the counter topical medications such as Frontline and Advantix are available which prevent ticks from spreading the infectious bacteria to your dog.
Don’t let your dog succumb to this easily preventable disease; protect your dog from ticks.