We are heading into the season of the year when pet parasites are an important topic of discussion. Tick populations and infections in our dogs and cats have risen over the past few years. These are insects found usually in grassy or wooded areas that climb on your pet, attach, and swell with blood. During that time they can transmit a number of serious diseases; including Lyme and Ehrlichia. Most veterinarians recommend blood testing dogs for these conditions either yearly or every second year.
Toby is a dog that came to the owners from Central America and tested positive for Ehrlichia on a blood test. This disease affects a number of different systems in the body including the kidneys, lymph nodes and blood cells. Acute disease can be fatal, while chronic conditions can cause long term kidney failure. Either way it is a nasty disease. Further testing is usually required to confirm the disease and check the effect on the body. Treatment can be effective if the condition is caught early.
Tick prevention helps prevent diseases such as this. There are different options for prevention, including a tablet given once every three months, or topical applications, usually applied once a month. Whatever you chose, it is best to start this prevention now. Anytime the temperature climbs over 4 degrees Celcius ticks become active and your pet is at risk.