TICK BORNE DISEASES

 

BABESIOSIS

Babesia canis was formerly called Piroplasma canis, so you may hear infection with this parasite called "canine piroplasmosis".  B. Canis is a one-celled parasite that infects dogs and other wild carnivores like wolves and fox.  It can be quite common in certain areas of the southern United States, and is found most often in kennel situations.  The disease is transmitted by the Brown Dog Tick and the tick must feed for a minimum of 2 to 3 days to transmit the disease.  Be sure to check your dog for ticks frequently.

Babesiosis is a cyclical disease, similar to Malaria.  Dogs that recover from the initial infection show variable and unpredictable patent periods alternating with dormant periods.  The clinical signs vary greatly depending upon the stage of the disease, the age and immune status of the dog and complications from other infections.

In the early stages few clinical symptoms may appear beyond intermittent fever and loss of appetite.  In the chronic phase the most obvious initial signs to an owner are a cycle of lethargy, loss of interest in food and a gradual loss of body condition especially evident around the eyes and along the spine.  Other symptoms are;  upper respiratory problems such as coughing or labored breathing, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, ulcerative stomatitis (sores in the mouth), edema (swelling), abdominal swelling (ascites), bleeding under the skin or a rash (purpura), low White Blood Count, clotting problems, joint swelling, back pain, seizures, weakness, increased liver enzyme, low Platelet count, hyper reflective eyes, enlarged lymph nodes, enlarged spleen, septic shock and depression.

EHRLICHIOSIS

Canine ehrlichiosis is a disease of dogs and wild canids and is found worldwide.  Canine ehrlichiosis is also known by other names such at "tracker dog disease", tropical canine pancytopenia", "canine hemorrhagic fever", and "canine typhus". 

Ehrlichiosis can be caused by several organisms including ehrlichia canis, E. equi, E. platys, E. ewingii and possibly others.  The Ehrlichia organisms are rickettsia which on the evolutionary scale are between bacteria and viruses.

Ehrlichiosis is believed to go through patent and dormant periods, much like Babesiosis does.  It has been the experience of people who have owned many Ehrlichia infected dogs, that is disease does not remain dormant, it slowly and steadily grows within the dogs system.  If used soon enough both Tetracycline and Doxicycline have a 98% success rate at curing dogs of Ehrlichiosis.

In the early phase of this disease the dog may exhibit few clinical symptoms beyond intermittent fever and loss of appetite.  In the chronic phase the most common symptoms include lethargy, loss of interest in food and a gradual loss of body condition especially evident around the eyes and along the spine.  Other symptoms include hemorrhaging even when blood counts look normal, clotting problems, seizures, muscle wasting, skin infections, neurological signs such as repetitive obsessive actions or palsy, diarrhea, low Platelet count, vomiting, hyper reflective eyes, low White Blood Cell count, anemia, glomerulonephritis, bleeding from the nose or eyes, ocular signs, arthritis, weakness, pallor, incontinence, pneumonia, cough, kidney failure, increased thirst and urination, incoordination, neck or back pain, bleeding under the skin, swelling of the legs or joints, enlarged lymph nodes, and irreversible bone marrow suppression.