Tick Prevention is More Important Than Ever!
The most recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that there has been a 3 fold increase in Vector Borne diseases between 2004 and 2016! Vector Borne diseases are diseases that are transmitted to people or animals by ticks, fleas and mosquitoes.
For our patients, Heartworm Parasite, Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichiosis are the most common concerns (although many, many more are possible).
We were reminded of how very important tick control is when “Wookie” came in a few weeks ago for an examination.
Wookie’s mom reported that she noticed her acting more lethargic than usual. She is usually up for a playful evening, so mom was concerned when Wookie just wanted to lay by her side and was trembling. When she didn’t want to jump up into bed or climb up and down the stairs, mom knew something was definitely wrong.
During her examination, Dr. Smith became more concerned when Wookie was not her usual energetic self. But, her physical exam was normal other than the finding that she was running a low grade fever. It was decided that we would look into some blood work to determine how sick Wookie was. Dr. Smith requested a Complete Blood Count (CBC) to evaluate her Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells and Platelets as well as her annual 4DX+ Test (screening for Heartworms, Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma).
Wookie is a very pampered little girl, so we were all a bit surprised when her 4DX+ results indicated that she had antibodies in her bloodstream for Ehrlichia! We know that the only way this can happen is that Wookie was bitten by a tick that was carrying the infectious agent (Ehrlichia) and that the tick transmitted this to her while feeding…..even though Wookie’s very observant mom had never seen a tick on Wookie before. Additionally, Wookie’s CBC showed that she had a low platelet count caused from her Ehrlichia infection.
Common clinical signs of Ehrlichia include: fever; poor appetite, lethargy; lameness/soreness from Polyarthritis; Lymph Node Enlargement; Anemia (low Red Blood Cell Count); Thrombocytopenia (low Platelet Count).
GOOD NEWS! Thankfully Wookie was diagnosed early and she has responded very well to Doxycycline Treatment of her Ehrlichiosis. After only 2 weeks of treatment her Platelet Count had returned to normal and she was feeling like her normal, playful self! Wookie’s mom is now a firm advocate for using Simparica oral monthly year-round to protect her baby from ever having to experience a scary health risk like Ehrlichia again.