Archive for Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Dogs test positive for ehrlichia

August 21, 2002

While reports of Kansas animals infected with the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus have surfaced, a Tonganoxie veterinarian says that's not all there is to be concerned about.

Dr. Kyle LaRosh said that Ehrlichia, a tick-borne infection, has been detected in blood tests on at least three dogs this spring and summer.

"It doesn't mean that they have the active disease," LaRosh said. "But it means they could be a source of new infections ticks biting on them and spreading it that way."

Ehrlichia can infect humans, but usually only if the person is bitten by a tick carrying Ehrlichia.

"You can't be bitten by a dog carrying the disease and get it very easily," LaRosh said.

Unless the test is done, an owner may not know their dog has been infected.

"That's really the scary thing," LaRosh said. "Most of the dogs act normal but they are carrying the disease."

Treatment consists of two weeks of antibiotics, and a retest in three or four months to make sure the dog is clear of infection.

When the dogs do show symptoms, there may be fever, lameness, loss of appetite and some swelling of the lower body.

In humans, Ehrlichia's symptoms can be similar to meningitis. LaRosh said he had heard of a Bonner Springs man who had recently recovered from ehrlichia.

LaRosh said pets can be easily tested for Ehrlichia, which is included as part of a three-way test for heartworm. The test also checks for Lyme Disease.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.