Ehrlichia in dogs is an infection that is not well known by dog owners, but can be very dangerous to your dog’s health, and it has three very distinctive stages.
While it can only be treated with antibiotics and more modern intracellular antibiotics,
Vitamins and Minerals can play a huge role in building the immune system of your pet prior to this or any other major infection.
The immune system in dogs is a complex system that when functioning properly, fights off bacteria, parasites, fungi, and infections.
Critical nutrients and supplementation of those nutrients to stimulate the immune system are a must to keep it functioning properly.
Vitamins A, C, E and essential fatty acids, as well as Minerals that include manganese, selenium, zinc, copper, magnesium and iron, all help to build and maintain the immune system.
Ehrlichia is a bacterium, or bacteria, and lives in the white blood cells of their host, in this case your dog.
They are spread by various “tick bites” and are very, very difficult to kill as they live in the center of the white blood cells.
For this reason, is very difficult to treat with traditional antibiotics as they will not penetrate into a cell membrane to kill the bacterium.
There are several types of Ehrlichia infections, or organisms, but the two most concerning for dog owners are Ehrlichia canis and swingii.
These are that two infections that can harm your dog and their health.
There are also several different types, basically depending on what type of white blood cell they attack.
Ehrlichia equi lives in the “granulocytes” which is a type of white blood cell, and ewingii lives in the granulocytes as well.
Ehrlichia canis lives in a different type of white blood cell known
This is a agent of Potomac fever found in horses, and Ehrlichia plats which lives in platelets, which are blood clotting cells.
These types are still baffling to a lot of experts, and thus are not absolute and should only be used as general guidelines.
It is a regional infection, and what kind of ticks is found in what region you live in will determine the invading tick.
But irregardless of the region, it is passed by ticks. The most common cause of Ehrlichia in dogs is the brown dog tick.
Lyme disease, Babesia infection, and Anaplasma are other types of infections caused by ticks and it is possible for dogs to be infected with multiple parasites, all caused by ticks.
The symptoms of Ehrlichia in dogs centers around three main stages as mentioned earlier.
In the first stage, the acute stage, the symptoms will be very mild to your dog and will start within 1 to 3 weeks after your dog has been bitten by the tick, again usually the brown dog tick.
The bacterium is reproducing during this time frame and is attaching themselves to your dog’s white blood cells.
In this stage your dog may not want to eat at all, become lethargic, and the lymph glands will start to swell.
The platelet count of your dog will start to drop and a destruction of immune-mediated platelets will start.
Most dogs will clear this infection stage with their immune system (if built up properly), while others will go into the next step.
The next step is the sub clinical stage.
This is a dangerous stage as the Ehrlichia in dog’s infection most likely has reached into your dog’s spleen where it will lay dormant. Your dog will not show any signs of any symptoms at all.
This could go on for months, and in some cases, even years.
However, in this stage of Ehrlichia in dogs your pet will have difficulty with their systems blood clotting properly and as a result if your dog has an injury, they will bleed abnormally.
This is a warning sign to watch for.
There may also be an inflammation in the eyes as well.
In the final phase, the chronic phase, Ehrlichia in dogs will cause your dog to get sick all over again.
A deep inflammation to the eyes will develop called “uveitis”, and over 50% of all dogs in this phase will have abnormal bleeding at the slightest of an injury.
This excessive bleeding is caused by the reduction of the number of platelets. Urinary protein loss can also occur in this final phase.
The only way to properly diagnosis where your dog may be with Ehrlichia infection is through a series of tests from your veterinarian.
They will conduct several tests in your pet, but this is a difficult infection to locate.
Symptoms that will surface will be enlarged lymph nodes, high fevers, and excessive bleeding, as well as low platelet counts found only by blood tests.
Effective treatment for this infection, believe it or not, is best found in one of the oldest antibiotics, tetracycline.
There are also more advanced antibiotics such as Doxycyline that can also be very effective.
Ehrlichia in dog’s can be a very serious infection and health risk to your best friend.
Building their immune system with vitamins will help as with any infection.
Even though immune-mediated secondary reactions such as platelet loss and or arthritis are concerns, vitamins can certainly be a very effective precautionary routine for your pet.