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Ehrlichiosis in dogs

Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

Ehrlichiosis in dogs is a fairly common condition that is also known as the tracer dog disease or the canine hemorrhagic fever.

This condition was first seen in the military dogs of Vietnam War. The condition is almost always caused by the multiple strains of ehrlichia, a virus that affects canines as well as many other animal species. This virus is transmitted to dogs through ticks. The young larvae of the tick, usually feed on dogs that are suffering from ehrlichiosis.

Ehrlichiosis in dogs occurs when the infection is passed on from one dog to another through ticks. The virus itself remains alive in a growing tick for about five months, after which it may die. However, this also means that a tick may keep infecting dogs for three to five months. The brown dog tick and the lone star tick are the two main kinds of ticks that cause this infection.

Therefore, the infection is usually most prevalent wherever these ticks are present. In the first few weeks of the infection, the virus enters into the white blood cells and begins to reproduce within them. It then spreads to the rest of the body through the blood, infecting the spleen, liver, lymph nodes and the bone marrow.

Canine Ehrlichiosis Symptoms

Ehrlichiosis in dogs symptoms include the enlargement of the liver, lymph nodes and the spleen, drop in the number of platelets in the blood, fever, anemia, depression, loss of appetite, lethargy, stiffness, joint pain, and shortness of breath. Dogs that have a very powerful immune system are able to fight off the infection. There are three different phases of the condition: acute, subclinical, and chronic phases. The ehrlichiosis treatment in dogs is completely based on the phase in which the infection has reached. Treatment can be extremely difficult in the severe chronic phase of ehrlichiosis in dogs. Since ehrlichiosis in dogs causes are viral in nature, there are no specific treatments. The condition remains untreatable to a large extent, and the only treatment available is that which helps in improving the symptoms of the condition. The diagnosis of the condition requires blood tests. The blood tests help in detecting the antibodies of the dog. The two tests that help in diagnosing the condition are the IFA, or indirect immunofluoroscent antibody test, and the second is the ELISA test. These tests, though accurate, do not work in the initial period of the infection.
  Submitted on February 15, 2011  

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