August 7, 2009
Tick fever in dogs

Canine Ehrlichiosis, commonly known as “tick fever” is caused by a germ (rickettsia) called ehrlichia canis. Dogs get tick fever from tick bites. It is also possible for dogs to become infected through a blood transfusion from an infected dog.{{more}}

This disease is quite prevalent in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the dog population and dogs of any age are susceptible to the disease if they are exposed to tick bites.

There are three stages of ehrlichiosis, each varying in severity.

1. The acute stage, occurring several weeks after infection and lasting for up to a month, can lead to fever, bleeding disorders, swollen lymph nodes, especially those below the jaws, discharge from the eyes and nose, edema of the legs and scrotum and lowered peripheral blood cell counts due to the bone marrow suppression.

2. The second stage, called the subclinical phase, has no outward signs and can last for the remainder of the dog’s life, during which the dog remains infected with the organism.

3. The third or chronic stage, of the infection is characterized by severe signs that can develop 1 to 4 months after being bitten by an infected tick. During this stage of the disease, any of the following signs may be observed: weight loss, fever, spontaneous bleeding, pale mucus membranes due to anemia, secondary bacterial infection, lameness, neurological (brain) and ophthalmic (eye) disorders like retinal hemorrhage and kidney diseases, can result. Dogs that are severely affected can die from the disease. This form of the disease appears to be more severe in German shepherd dogs and Doberman pinschers.

How is this disease diagnosed?

Your veterinarian will do a simple blood test to diagnose the disease.

Treatment is generally quite effective if diagnosed early. In the late stages of the disease, blood transfusions may be required.

Prevention : Tick control is the most effective method of prevention.

For further information, contact: Dr. Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd.
Tele: 456 4981