King William Veterinary Clinic

Tick Threats

Posted by Lindsey Haile on Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The ticks in our area possess various bacteria which they are sharing generously with our dogs!  Recent convenient in –clinic testing has enabled us to diagnose many cases of Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis.  These two diseases are part of a trio that poses severe life threatening risks to dogs who acquire ticks.  Both Lyme disease and Ehrlichia cause general signs of weakness, weight loss, fever, and decreased appetite.  However, while Lyme disease notoriously affects the joints and sometimes the kidneys, Ehrlichia attacks the blood vessels, the spleen, liver, and bone marrow.  Therefore, dogs with Ehrlichia may have spontaneous bleeding, swollen lymph nodes, eye problems and swelling of the legs.  The nervous system is also affected resulting in signs of weakness, an uneven gait, a head tilt, and even seizures.  However, while Lyme disease persists in the pet for the entirety of its life, Ehrlichia is cleared with appropriate antibiotic therapy.  If the disease is caught early, dogs recover completely.  Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever completes the trio of common tick-borne diseases in dogs.  It causes symptoms comparable to both Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis and is treated similarly.  At this time we do not have a convenient in-clinic test available but blood samples can be evaluated at an outside lab for diagnosis.  Since a vaccine is only available for Lyme disease, tick prevention is the key to avoiding these illnesses.  Early detection through testing is crucial to the pet’s speedy recovery. 


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