Ehrlichiosis: A Dangerous Tick Disease

Ehrlichia tick disease

Ehrlichia tick diseaseIt is summer and you are likely outside a lot more, and so is your dog and possibly your cat. This means that your dog or cat is at a much higher likelihood of getting ticks. Beyond being gross, ticks also carry disease such as Ehrlichiosis. Yes, this is a tick disease that affects both dogs and cats.

Ehrlichiosis is a disease spread by ticks that cause some very serious issues. It can take 2-4 weeks after being bitten by an infected tick to start seeing signs of infection. Your dog may get a fever, loss of appetitive, and lethargy. It can cause thrombocytopenia which means your dog doesn’t have enough platelets in his blood. This means he can have bleeding into his body tissue, bruising, his blood will clot more slowly. This disease can cause bone marrow suppression as well.

Dogs with ehrlichiosis can develop an acute infection that starts with fever, appetite loss and lethargy. Two to four weeks after experiencing the bite of an infected tick, a subclinical infection can set in, causing thrombocytopenia. That $5 word means that the dog doesn’t have enough platelets in his blood. When that happens, he can experience bleeding into body tissues (known as petechiae) and bruising. His blood may clot more slowly than normal after an injury. Bone marrow suppression can result from chronic Ehrlichia spp. (the “spp.” refers to all species of this type of bacteria) infection. It can appear months to years after a tick bite.

Cats with ehrlichiosis have many of the same signs as dogs, but they may also have weight loss, joint pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.

How you get infected with Ehrlichiosis

Dogs and cats get infected with Ehrlichia by being bitten by an infected tick. The tick does not need to be on your pet for very long to infect them. In as few as 3-6 hours your pet could contract the disease from a tick.

Dogs (and cats) become infected with Ehrlichia spp. when infected ticks feed on them, injecting the bacteria into their blood by deeply burying their mouthparts into the skin. Nasty!

Treatment

Once your pet has been diagnosed, which is done through a blood test, with Ehrlichia they can be treated with antibiotics. In sever cases they may need blood transfusions. Thankfully dogs and cats respond quickly to treatment, even if your pet has had it for a long time. Your vet will likely want to do follow up blood work 3 to 6 months after the initial treatment.

The good thing is that pets cannot spread the disease to humans.

 

Prevention is the best treatment, because even though the disease can be treated with antibiotics, depending on the complications your pet had from the disease, you may have some other long term issues to deal with.  It is easy to keep ticks off your cat or dog with Frontline flea and tick treatment. It is a once a month topical treatment that goes on the back of their neck. It will kill any existing fleas or ticks, including their eggs, as well as prevent any from getting on your pet. Albuquerque has both fleas and ticks and these can be a big problem and cause a lot of health issues in your pet. Make sure to drop by Albuquerque Vetco to stock up on your Frontline Flea and Tick prevention.

Happy Memorial Day!

Today is the day we remember the sacrifices made by the men and women of the United States armed forces. We thank you for your service and your sacrifice. From Vetco, we hope you have a safe and happy Memorial Day.

Tips for Pet Safety on Memorial Day in Albuquerque

Pet Safety Memorial Day Albuquerque

Pet Safety Memorial Day AlbuquerqueIt’s Memorial Day weekend!  Time for parks, and grilling, and spending time with friends and family. Lets make sure that the weekend is fun and safe for the whole family, including your four legged members.

Memorial Day Pet Safety Tips

  1. Keep People Food Away from Your Dog: Your dog may love people food, but there is a lot food that is toxic to pets such as:
    1. Grapes
    2. Onions
    3. Xylitol
    4. Chocolate
    5. Raisins

      If you think your dog has gotten into your food and you notice them vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or other behavioral changes, you will want to bring them to your Albuquerque vet immediately. If you are grilling or having a picnic, bring some food just for your dog so he doesn’t feel left out of the culinary celebration.

  2. Watch the heat: It gets hot in Albuquerque and though Memorial Day weekend is not the peak of the summer, it can still get up there in temperature. Don’t leave your dog in the car, ever. The heat can climb well over 100 degrees in your car in a matter of minutes. If you notice your dog panting a lot, bring them into a cool area or offer them some water.
  3. Use sunscreen: Did you know that dogs can burn? Yes they can! Dogs with light coats are especially vulnerable. Talk to your vet about the kind of sunscreen to put on your dog to help keep them safe from burns. If you don’t want to put sunscreen on them, make sure they have good access to shade.
  4. Microchip– Make sure your dog has his microchip. Though it is best to keep him on a leash if you are away from your house, many of us like to go on hikes or to parks over Memorial Day. If you dog get separated from you, having a microchip will help him be returned quickly.
  5. Fireworks! Many people love to light fireworks on Memorial Day Weekend. This can be really scary for your dog. If you are going to be in an area with fireworks, try to give your dog a safe space to hide out, like a quiet room or a kennel.

 

Above all have a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend.