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rec.pets.dogs: Canine Tick Diseases FAQ



 
 
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Old February 16th 04, 10:01 AM
Lynda Adame
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Default rec.pets.dogs: Canine Tick Diseases FAQ

Archive-name: dogs-faq/medical-info/tick-diseases
URL: http://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/medica...-diseases.html
Last-modified: 07 Nov 1997

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This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below.
It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
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It may NOT reside at another website (use links, please) other
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==========


Canine Tick Diseases

Author

Lynda Adame,


Copyright 1996 by the author.
__________________________________________________ _______________

Table of Contents

* Babesiosis
* Ehrlichiosis

__________________________________________________ _______________

Babesiosis

What Is It:
Babesiosis is a tick-borne hemoprotozoan (blood) disease. The
organism is called Babesia, the disease is called Babesiosis.

Species:
Babesia canis, Babesia gibsoni

Primary Vector:
Brown Dog Tick (must feed a minimum of 2-3 days to transmit)

Other Vectors:
Deer Tick, blood transfusion, contaminated needles and
instruments, transplacental.

Diagnosis:
There are two tests being used by Veterinarians to detect
infection:

1) The IFA (Indirect Fluorescent Antibody Assay) test is used
to detect the presence of antibodies to the disease in a dogs
blood serum. This test will determine a titer level; less than
1:40 is considered Negative (minimal exposure), a titer above
1:80 is considered Positive for an active infection. The IFA is
considered the most reliable test for detecting infection.

2) The Giemsa Smear is used to locate the actual organism in
the dogs blood. Despite appropriate staining technique and
intensive film examination, the organisms frequently cannot be
found.

Titer info:
Titers counts double: 1:10, 1:20, 1:40, 1:80, 1:160, and so on.
A high titer can be caused by repeated exposure to the disease,
a large number of active organisms in the blood, or a better
immune system response of a specific dog. (i.e. a dog responds
naturally with more antibodies than another dog).

Titer is an indication of exposure to a specific foreign
protein. It does not indicate that there are active organisms
in the blood.

Comments:
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.

Phases:
_Acute_ - This phase is of short duration, and is where the dog
is initially infected with the disease. If the dog does not die
outright from the infection, then it moves on to the next
phase.

_Subclinical_ - This phase can last months or years. It is
characterized by a fine equilibrium between the parasite and
the immune system of the host. This equilibrium can be
disturbed by a number of things: environmental stress,
additional diseases/infections (especially Ehrlichiosis),
immunodeficiency, spleen removal, surgery, stress, hard work,
imunosuppressive treatment, use of corticosteroids (Prednisone
is a no-no). The dog may exhibit few clinical symptoms during
this phase, beyond intermittent fever and loss of appetite. If
the equilibrium is disturbed, the parasite will begin to slowly
grow in number and the dog will move into the next phase.
Infected Greyhounds are often in this phase when they are
adopted out.

_Chronic_ - If the dogs system remains unable to clear the
parasite, it enters this final 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 a upper
respiratory problems - 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
Cell count (thrombocytopenia), clotting problems, joint
swelling, back pain, seizures, weakness, increased liver
enzyme, low Platelet count, hyper reflective eyes, enlarged
lymph nodes, enlarged spleen, septic shock, depression.

Misdiagnosed as:
hemolytic anemia, kidney failure, vague blood disorder,
thrombocytopenia, "doggie aids", autoimmune disease, Von
Willebrands disease, leukemia, DIC (disseminated intravascular
coagulation - severe clotting disorder).

Treatment:
The current drug of choice (Imidocarb Dipropionate) is not yet
FDA approved. It is a chemo-therapeutic agent that is being
experimentally tested on Babesia infected Greyhounds across the
U.S.. Imidocarb is the least toxic of all of the anti-babesial
drugs, and the success rate is stated in research papers to be
95 - 98%. There are also un-substantia- ted claims of
Doxicycline and/or Clindamycin being used to treat Babesia.

Two Labs that perform the IFA test:

Protatek Reference Lab
574 E. Alamo St., Suite 90, Chandler, AZ 85225; (602)
545-8499

Instructions for Tick Fever Panel: Draw 3cc of blood, use
a serum-separation tube, spin down, refrigerate until
mailing. Try to mail early in the week, ship tube upright
in ice and use priority mail.

Corning Clinical Lab
P.O. Box 305125, Nashville, TN 37230; No instructions
available.

__________________________________________________ _______________

Ehrlichiosis

What Is It:
Ehrlichiosis is a tick-borne rickettsial infectious blood
disease. The organism is called Ehrlichia, the disease is
called Ehrlichiosis.

Species:
Ehrlichia canis, Ehrlichia risticii

Primary Vector:
Brown Dog Tick (must feed a minimum of 2 -3 days to transmit)
for E. canis. Horse manure and other unknown sources for E.
risticii.

Other Vectors:
Deer tick, blood transfusion, contaminated needles and
instruments, transplacental.

Diagnosis:
There are two tests being used by Veterinarians to detect
infection:

1) The IFA (Indirect Fluorescent Antibody Assay) test is used
to detect the presence of antibodies to the disease in a dogs
blood serum. This test will determine a titer level; less than
1:40 is considered Negative (minimal exposure), a titer above
1:80 is considered Positive for an active infection. The IFA is
considered the most reliable test for detecting infection.
Ehrlichia titers can climb much higher than Babesia titers.

2) The Giemsa Smear is used to locate the actual organism in
the dogs blood. Despite appropriate staining technique and
intensive film examination, the organisms frequently cannot be
found.

Titer info:
Titers counts double: 1:10, 1:20, 1:40, 1:80, 1:160, and so on.
A high titer can be caused by repeated exposure to the disease,
a large number of active organisms in the blood, or a better
immune system response of a specific dog. (i.e. a dog responds
naturally with more antibodies than another dog).

Titer is an indication of exposure to a specific foreign
protein. It does not indicate that there are active organisms
in the blood.

Comments:
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
this disease does not remain dormant, it slowly and steadily
grows within the dogs system. If used soon enough, both
Tetracycline and Doxicycline (at variable treatment lengths)
have a 98% success rate at curing dogs of Ehrlichiosis.

Phases:
_Acute_ - This phase is of short duration, and is where the dog
is initially infected with the disease. If the dog does not die
outright from the infection, then it moves on to the next
phase.

_Subclinical_ - This phase can last months or years. It is
characterized by a fine equilibrium between the parasite and
the immune system of the host. This equilibrium can be
disturbed by a number of things: environmental stress,
additional diseases/infections, (especially Babesiosis),
immunodeficiency, spleen removal, surgery, stress, hard work,
imunosuppressive treatment, use of corticosteroids (Prednisone
is a no-no). The dog may exhibit few clinical symptoms during
this phase, beyond intermittent fever and loss of appetite. If
the equilibrium is disturbed, the parasite will begin to slowly
grow in number and the dog will move into the next phase.
Infected Greyhounds are often in this phase when they are
adopted out.

_Chronic_ - If the dogs system remains unable to clear the
parasite, it enters this final 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 a viral
tumors on the face/mouth/muzzle, hemorrhaging even when blood
count looks normal, clotting problems, low or high calcium
level, seizures, muscle wasting, skin infections, neurological
signs (repetitive obsessive actions, or palsy), diarrhea, low
Platelet count, urine too alkaline, vomiting, hyper reflective
eyes, low White Blood Cell count (thrombocytopenia), 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 or a
rash (purpura), swelling of the legs or joints, enlarged lymph
nodes, irreversible bone marrow suppression.

Misdiagnosed as:
reticulosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, brucellosis,
blastomycosis, thrombocytopenia, endocarditis, immune mediated
disease, myelophthisis, cancer of spleen or liver, Valley
Fever, plasma cell myeloma, leukemia.

Treatment:
Doxicycline at 11 mg/kg b.i.d. for 2 - 4 weeks, or longer. OR
Tetracycline 22 - 33 mg t.i.d. (oral) for 2 - 4 weeks or
longer.

Two Labs that perform the IFA test:

Protatek Reference Lab
574 E. Alamo St., Suite 90m Chandler, AZ 85225; (602)
545-8499

Instructions for Tick Fever Panel: Draw 3cc of blood, use
a serum-separation tube, spin down, refrigerate until
mailing. Try to mail early in the week, ship tube upright
in ice and use priority mail.

Corning Clinical Lab
P.O. Box 305125, Nashville, TN 37230; No instructions
available.

__________________________________________________ _______________


Canine Tick Diseases FAQ
Lynda Adame,


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