All Creatures Veterinary Hospital

All Creatures Veterinary Hospital
4549 HW 62 West
Mountain Home, AR 72653
(870) 425-5175


Ehrlichiosis

Ehlichiosis is a disease of dogs caused by the parasitic organism called Ehrlichia (er - lick - ee - ah). This is transmitted to dogs by ticks. It is not transmitted from dog to dog or from dog to person, however, once a tick bites a dog that has Ehrlichia, it is capable of transmitting the disease to other dogs.

Ehrlichiosis usually causes symptoms such as sore muscles or joints, decreased appetite, lethargy, lameness, weight loss, fever, and poor hair coat. Less commonly, it causes more severe signs such as bleeding disorders, anemia, or meningitis. Sometimes, dogs will show no clinical signs and will appear healthy.

Diagnosis of ehrlichiosis is made by a blood screening test that tests for antibodies to the organism in the dog's blood. The same test usually also tests for heartworm disease and Lyme's disease. Most dogs with ehrlichiosis respond well to treatment with a tetracycline antibiotic such as doxycycline. This treatment needs to be continued for two to three weeks in order to be effective. Sometimes longer term therapy may be necessary or other drugs may need to be added if symptoms persist.

Once a dog has had ehrlichiosis, he/she IS NOT IMMUNE to it and can get the disease again. There is not yet a vaccine available to prevent ehrlichiosis. The best prevention is to minimize your dog's exposure to ticks. Monthly flea and tick prevention is strongly recommended. Frontline and Preventic collars are two good ways to prevent ticks on your dog and can safely be used together if tick infestation is severe. Treating the yard and other outdoor areas with tick sprays or powders is also recommended if tick populations are high in your area.

If you have questions concerning ehrlichiosis or would like to schedule a time to have your dog tested, please contact our office at: (870)425-5175.