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The dreaded erlichia in dogs

By Mitch Canlas-Cordova

All owners hate ticks and fleas. 

But owners who know about erlichiosis or erlichia protect their dogs against ticks or garapata that infect dogs with this dreaded disease. 

Erlichia is similar to dengue in humans, and can lead to death. 

Yuri, rescued by Save Animals of Love and Light  (Save ALL, Inc.), survived erlichia after medical treatment supervised by Dr. Anthony Prado Basa.
When a dog is bitten by a tick that is an erlichia-carrier, the dog needs immediate medical treatment.

It is not true that only dogs infested  with ticks can have erlichia.

A single bite is all it takes for the disease to spread inside the dog’s body and make him or her very ill. This can lead to death if the dog is not given proper medical care.

It is very important to monitor a dog’s health daily to make sure they do not get infected.

When an owner has observed symptoms of erlichia in his/her dog, go to the vet and start the treatment before it reaches the stage wherein blood transfusion will be needed.

Symptoms:

1.Fever

2. Weight loss

3. Pale gums

4. Lethargy

5. Loss of appetite

6. Spots on the skin

7. Blood coming out from different parts of the body (nose, eyes, ears, mouth, anus,and genitals)

Some owners tend to assume that when  blood comes out of the nose and mouth, the dog is having a heat stroke.

There are owners  who think blood from the anus is  due to parvo virus while other owners think blood from the genital area is due to  urinary  tract infection (UTI).

This is not always true.

Thus, It is always best to have the dog’s blood tested.

A test kit for ehrlichiosis normally costs P800 to P1,000.  A complete blood count  is also done to determine the level of infection, the platelet count, and the condition of the liver and kidneys.

The incubation period for ehrlichia is three weeks. You will see symptoms usually after three weeks.

Veterinarians will prescribe antibiotics, supplements to protect the liver and kidney, vitamin B complex for the nervous system, and natural supplements  such as coco nectar, tawa tawa leaves, or papaya leaves to raise the platelet count.

The treatment plan is usually for a minimum of 28 days to a maximum of 60 days, depending on the severity of the case.

Blood transfusion is  advised when the platelet count is too low or dropping fast.

Thus, it is important to detect erlichia early through the tests and to start treatment  immediately after diagnosis.

Also, a veterinarian will give the proper dosage and frequency of all prescribed medicine and supplements.

Ways to prevent erlichia and to detect it immediately

>Clean surroundings everyday.

>Make sure your dogs are tick-free.

>Do not allow your dogs to roam freely on the streets.

>Do not let them interact with other dogs whose health status is questionable to you. 

>Educate people, especially your neighbors and relatives, about the risk of spreading erlichia and by sharing  tips on how to treat dogs with ticks.

>Monitor the gum color, appetite, stool and urine, activities of your dogs (a single symptom requires a visit to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment).

>Natural tick treatment can be done by  putting a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar on the fur and skin every day.

>Use food grade diatomaceous earth or DE as powder.

>Check the walls of your  place to see if there are ticks. Make sure to use safe cleaning solutions  to eliminate the ticks.

Tips on cleaning your place:

>Always check the anti-tick product’s instructions and feedback, and the age of the pet indicated on the label or box before using the product.

 >Cleaning solutions are often poisonous so make sure to keep them away from your dogs and cats.

>When cleaning the area, make sure animals are not in the same room as  the smell of a lot of products should not be inhaled, or the product itself is toxic when licked.

>When rinsing the area, please make sure you have thoroughly removed any residue which could be puddles of water or water running down the canals and on the roads that other stray animals might drink.  Please  be conscious about the welfare and safety of other animals in the neighborhood.

About the author: Mitch Canlas-Cordova  is an animal rescuer and the founder of Furbabies TLC (an animal welfare group) which helps owners with sick pets. In photo with Ms. Cordova are her daughters who rescue cats: Marie who makes a special jingle for each cat they rescue and Angel  who started rescuing at eight years old.

Topics: Dogs , Health , Pets , Animal welfare , Erlichia
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