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Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Optimal treatment for your pet requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your dog does not rapidly improve. Administer all prescribed medication as directed. Alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your pet. Most antibiotics are given for at least two to three weeks for this disease.

If abnormalities are detected initially in the blood count and platelet count, then it is common for these tests to be repeated every two to five days after initiating therapy, until the counts are back to normal. A biochemistry profile is initially repeated every four to 10 days, especially if abnormalities were detected on the original work-up.

Serology may be repeated nine to 12 months after therapy. Most antibody titers peak between 2 and 5 months after infection, and then start to decrease if the parasite is eliminated from the body. A persistently high positive titer may represent reinfection or ineffective therapy, and may indicate the need for a second round of therapy.

Prognosis with acute disease is excellent if caught early. Dogs in the acute phase of the disease often show improvement within 72 hours of starting the antibiotics. The prognosis with chronic cases varies, and dogs with chronic disease may require prolonged treatment.

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