Treatment and Prognosis for Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

Ehrlichiosis

Treatment Options

Dogs with ehrlichiosis often are anemic, which means that they have abnormally low levels of circulating red blood cells and platelets. If a dog is severely anemic, it may be admitted to the hospital and given blood or platelet-rich transfusions until it has stabilized. If a dog is dehydrated, it probably will be given intravenous fluids that contain electrolytes. Antibiotics may be prescribed and given either orally or intravenously. Glucocorticoid medications may be appropriate if the animal’s platelet count is extraordinarily low, on the theory that temporarily suppressing the dog’s immune system might delay platelet destruction. Androgen steroids can stimulate bone marrow production and generally are considered for dogs with chronic ehrlichiosis.

Prognosis

The outlook for dogs with acute ehrlichiosis is excellent, if appropriate treatment is initiated in a timely fashion. Dogs with subclinical ehrlichiosis may remain in that phase with few if any symptoms for the rest of their life. Dogs that progress to chronic ehrlichiosis may take longer to respond to treatment, especially if their bone marrow is compromised.

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