Ehrlichiosis is an infectious desease, which is contracted through tick bites.
The course of the disease can take several forms (without any clinical symptoms, acute or chronic). If symptoms occur, they can vary greatly so no classical symptoms can be listed. The acute form shows symptoms one to three weeks after the infection. Fever, discharge from eyes and nose, fatigue, difficulties breathing and swelling of the lymph nodes are common symptoms. The symptoms can disappear after a few weeks or last and result in chronic symptoms. Typical chronic symptoms include lethargy, fatigue and dullness, general weakness, decreased appetite, weight loss, nose bleed and bleedings of the mucuous membranes. In severe cases vomiting, shortness of breath, lameness or even blindness may occur. Especially German Shepards have a predisposition for this disease.
The agent can be transferred in case of tick bites of the brown dog tick. The agent gets into liver, spleen and lymph nodes via the blood and the lymph system, and from there it reaches other organs.
The diagnosis of the disease is relatively difficult. Normally, it is tried to exclude other infectious diseases, afterwards examinations under laboratory conditions shall verify the suspicion of the disease. For the treatment, in general antibiotics are used. Depending on the symptomatology also cortisone therapies and blood transfusions are applied.
If you live in a region with increased tick population or would like to take your dog to southern holiday destinations, you should minimize the risk by proceeding preventively. A vaccination is not possible, but you may use preparations with protective effect against ticks and midges. Additionally, drugs with killing effect should be applied. Spot-on products or shampoos are common variants. Your veterinarian will certainly advice you. When you find a tick on your dog, you should remove it as fast as possible to minimize the risk of an infection.