Ehrlichiosis in Dogs | Causes and Prevention

Causes and Prevention of Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

Causes of Ehrlichiosis

There are several different organisms that cause ehrlichiosis in domestic dogs. One of the most common is Ehrlichia canis, which is a species of bacteria that is transmitted to dogs through the saliva of brown dog ticks. Brown dog ticks are found in most tropical and subtropical areas world-wide. They are fairly common throughout the United States. Some species of Anaplasma bacteria also cause ehrlichiosis in dogs. These organisms are carried by hard-shelled Ixodes ticks, which are found mainly in California and in the Northeastern and upper Midwestern states. They are primarily a parasite of platelets, which are the cells in blood that are primarily responsible for its ability to clot. Finally, some Neorickettsia bacteria can cause ehrlichiosis in dogs. They also can cause Potomac Fever in horses and salmon poisoning disease in dogs, which are completely different disorders.

Immature ticks become infected during their early larval or nymph stages, when they feed on an infected animal. Dogs become infected when they are bitten by adult ticks that carry the bacteria. When an infected tick bites a dog, the tiny bacterial parasites are transferred through the tick’s saliva into the dog’s bloodstream at the site of the bite.

Ehrlichiosis usually proceeds through three distinct phases. The first, or acute phase starts somewhere between 10 and 20 days after the tick bite and typically lasts from 2 to 4 weeks. During that time, the bacteria multiply inside certain white blood cells called “monocytes.” The infected cells circulate in the dog’s bloodstream for about 24 hours. Then, they start sticking to the inner lining of blood vessels, causing varying degrees of inflammation. The bacteria also migrate out of the blood into tissues, especially those of the spleen, liver, lung and lymph nodes.

The second, or subclinical phase happens between 6 and 9 weeks after the tick bite and can last for years. During this phase, white blood cells and tissues continue to be damaged by the infective organisms. In addition, the parasites begin to invade red blood cells, platelets and bone marrow. Many dogs show no signs of sickness during these first two phases. Sometimes, they even recover spontaneously. If they don’t, they enter the chronic phase of ehrlichiosis, with variable signs and severity of disease.

Prevention of Ehrlichiosis

The best way to prevent ehrlichiosis is to keep dogs from being bitten by ticks. A number of good topical tick preventatives, including collars, dusts, dips, drops and sprays, are widely available. A veterinarian is the best person to recommend a good parasite prevention protocol.

Special Notes

Ehrlichiosis cannot be transferred directly between dogs or from dogs to people. The infective parasites can only be transferred through saliva from the bite of an infected tick. However, people can become infected if they are bitten by an infected tick. People also can develop ehrlichiosis by coming into contact with the blood of infected ticks. Gloves should be worn whenever anyone removes a tick from a dog to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Ticks should be disposed of in tightly sealed containers.

Source: PetWave

MATCHING TOPICS OF INTEREST

Tracheal Worms (Oslerus osleri) in Dogs

Tracheal Worms in Dogs: Learn about Tracheal Worms, including how they can affect your dog,...

Heart Murmurs in Dogs

...

Canine Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer in Dogs: Learn about Prostate Cancer, including how it can affect your dog,...

Fleas in Dogs

Fleas in Dogs: Learn about Fleas, including how they can affect your dog, and what...

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome in Dogs

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome in Dogs Guide: Veterinarian reviewed information about canine Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, including...

PETWAVE: POPULAR TOPICS

Dog Health Dog Health
Learn about the most common diseases affecting dogs
Puppy Training Getting a Puppy
A new puppy in the house can cause quite a whirlwind of excitement
Dog Breeds List of Dog Breeds
Comprehensive list of dog breeds with specific breed information

Find a Dog Breed?

With so many dog breeds to choose from, sometime it's easier to seach based on certain characterisitcs.

Caring for your Dog?

There is more to caring for your dog than just feeding it. Find out all you need to know to make sure your pet stays healthy.

Training your Dog?

A dog's behavior plays a key role in making a great pet. Training your dog makes a happier dog, and you will be happier too.

Ask a vet?

Have a question?
Ask a Vet Online NowSM

Ask a Vet

About Us | Review Board | Badges | Tell a Friend | Bookmark this Page | Submit Feedback | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Dog Breeds | Cat Breeds | Dog Health | Cat Health | Dog Training | Cat Training | Dog Care | Cat Care | Dog Adoption | Cat Food & Diet

Advertise on petwave.com - A Pet360 Media Network Partner

Become a Fan of Petwave.com on Facebook Become a Fan on Facebook Follow PetWave.com on Twitter Follow PetWave.com on Twitter Email Friend about Petwave.com Tell your friends about PetWave

© 2014 PetWave Corporation. All rights reserved
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian. PetWave disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information view our Terms of Service.