Animal & Bird Medical Center of Palm Harbor
Medical Database

Infectious Disease

Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

Animals Affected – Dog

General Information
Ehrlichiosis is a blood disorder caused by blood cell parasites called rickettsiae. Of the four different rickettsiae that can cause the disease, Ehrlichia canis is the most common.

Dogs are infected when they are bitten by ticks carrying the rickettsiae or when they receive transfusions of blood contaminated with the rickettsiae. Signs of ehrlichiosis develop within 8 to 20 days.

The acute or early phase of the disease lasts 4 to 6 weeks and is characterized by such signs as weight loss, fever, depression, discharge from the eyes and nose, respiratory problems, and enlarged lymph nodes. Many dogs recover after this stage of the disease. In other dogs, the infection becomes subclinical, lasting months or years. Stress or treatment with various drugs in these dogs may result in severe clinical signs of ehrlichiosis.

Dogs with a mild form of ehrlichiosis may become chronically infected and show depression, weight loss, hemorrhage, fever, and various other organ problems.

Ehrlichiosis is diagnosed by blood tests. The disease is prevented by controlling tick infestation of the dog.

Important Points in Treatment

1. Ehrlichiosis usually can be treated, regardless of the stage of infection. However, the earlier the disease is detected, the more rapid is recovery. Chronically infected dogs may require treatment for several months. Dogs with severe anemia or hemorrhage may require blood transfusions.
2. Repeated blood tests are required during the treatment period.

An Important Update From Animal & Bird Medical Center On COVID-19

We are committed to offering a safe and healthy environment for our clients, pets and hospital team here at Animal and Bird Medical Center. The best way to avoid becoming ill is to avoid exposure to the virus. Taking typical preventive actions is key.

In being cautious and mindful of everyone’s safety, we are actively working to minimize your exposure to crowded exam rooms and long waits in the lobby.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made some changes to our protocols in-hospital for the time-being…

In order to limit exposure while still providing quality care for your pet, we will be implementing special protocols to keep you safe.

We will have our veterinary technicians get a history of the patient’s symptoms and owner’s concerns via phone prior to coming into the clinic.

  • Upon arrival, owners can call us from the curb in front of the clinic and we will have a technician assistant come to your car and bring your pet inside.
  • From here, your pet will be examined and the doctor will develop a treatment plan which he will then communicate via phone with the owner.
  • At the end of the visit, an invoice will be brought out to your car and payment can be taken via phone.

Our goal is for you to be able to bring your pet in for medical care but have no risk for you or our dedicated staff of transmitting the COVID-19 virus.

The Doctors and staff are dedicated to making sure your pet’s medical needs are taken care of during this national crisis.

We can still fill prescriptions for pick up, however, for those who prefer, non-narcotic and non-urgent prescriptions can be mailed to your home.

As always, careful hand-washing and other infection control practices can greatly reduce the chance of spreading any disease.