What is it?
Ehrlichiosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria called Rickettsia. The Ehrlichia reproduces within white cells (monocytes, lymphocytes, neutrophils, and eosinophils). It is known as hemorrhagic fever or hemorrhagic syndrome.
How it is transmitted?
It is transmitted through the tick, the specimen Rhipicephalus Sanguineus known as the brown dog tick. The tick feeds in its nymph state on other already infected dogs, transmitting the bacteria through its saliva.
Which are the symptoms?
Depending on what phase of the disease you are in, you may or may not have symptoms.
This disease is divided into 3 phases:
Acute: (8 to 20 days after infection). In this stage, the bacteria reproduce itself in the white blood cells and it travels through the bloodstream going to organs such as the spleen, the lymph nodes, and the liver. Symptoms are fever, vomiting, runny nose, shortness of breath, anorexia, and weight loss. The bacteria can be seen on white blood cells when a blood smear is observed.
Sub-Clinical: In this stage, the animal does not present symptoms except for mild anemia, and can the patient can live for years with it. The dog can eliminate the bacteria by itself or progress to the chronic stage.
Chronic or Clinical: It is the most serious stage, and it presents with symptoms such as weakness, anorexia, weight loss, a decrease of cells in the blood, inflammation of the kidneys, bleeding, inflammation of the eyes, kidney failure, among others.
What is the treatment?
Treatment can be given in all its phases through the use of antibiotics (doxycycline) for an average of 21 days. Depending on the stage of the disease, the treatment could be supported by alternative medicine.
The prognosis for patients in the acute stage is positive but for those who reach the chronic stage, it is reserved.
After finishing the treatment it is recommended to do a blood smear after 6 months of treatment to see if the bacteria is eradicated.
Note: Not because a dog has been cured of the disease does not mean that it cannot be re-infected.
How to avoid it?
I always suggest to my clients that they check their puppies if they have gone to wooded areas or with a high presence of ticks. The tick needs to be in the dog for an average of 24 hours to 48 hours to be able to pass the bacteria through its saliva.
If your budget allows you, you can buy products to protect your dog during tick season. These little parasites wake up when the ambient temperature is between 0 ° Celsius to 4 ° Celsius. There are products that are administered once a month and protect them for 30 days.
There is no vaccine against Ehrlichiosis.
And yes, the human being can catch it but thanks to the fact that a tick-transmitted it and not his dog. Let's be clear about that.
da Fonseca Rosa, S. (s. f.). Ehrlichiosis canina: enfoque de tratamiento y prevención. VanguardiaVet 2021. https://www.vanguardiaveterinaria.com.mx/ehrlichiosis-canina
Peraza, N. (2019, 5 marzo). Ehrlichiosis Canina. Geosalud.com. Recuperado 23 de octubre de 2021, de https://www.geosalud.com/mascotas/ehrlichiosis-canina.html
E. ewingii morula, present in a granulocyte, is morphologically indistinguishable from E. chaffeensis. (s. f.). [Fotografía]. Characteristic peripheral blood findings in human ehrlichiosis. https://www.nature.com/articles/3800075/figures/3
Llera, R., & Ward, E. (s. f.). Ehrlichiosis in Dogs. Vca_canada_corporate. Recuperado 23 de octubre de 2021, de https://vcacanada.com/know-your-pet/ehrlichiosis-in-dogs