Tick-borne diseases Ė More than just Heartworm
Look at the information for the new simple test
Dog owners can now leave the veterinary clinic knowing whether or
not their dogs are suffering from three different tick-borne diseases.
The canine SNAP(r) 4Dx(r) in-clinic blood test developed by IDEXX
Laboratories screens dogs for exposure to Lyme
disease and two other emerging tick-borne diseases, canine ehrlichiosis and
canine anaplasmosis, while
simultaneously testing for heartworm.
After receiving USDA approval in 2006, the test is readily available to
veterinary clinics throughout the country.
causes similar symptoms in both dogs and humans, including fatigue, fever,
muscle or joint pain, and enlarged lymph nodes. The disease is often referred to
as ďthe great imitatorďby doctors and veterinarians because its symptoms
mimic many other diseases. This range of symptoms can also make Lyme disease
difficult to diagnose from clinical signs alone, with some dogs displaying no
visible symptoms for months.
As with Lyme disease, canine anaplasmosis and canine ehrlichiosis
are often mistaken for other conditions and cannot be accurately diagnosed
without a trip to the veterinarian.
Dr. Matt Ebertís practices veterinary medicine in the
tick-endemic area, and researches canine tick-borne diseases.
Ebertís has been involved with SNAP 4Dx clinic trials and was
shocked at the early results, which showed an alarming 40 percent of the dogs
Ebertís examines testing positive for Lyme disease. Perhaps more troublesome
than the extremely high incidence of Lyme disease Ebertís sees is that 50
percent of the dogs entering his clinic test positive for exposure to canine
Like Lyme disease, canine anaplasmosis is spread by infected deer
ticks that feed on the blood of dogs. ďWhile Lyme disease continues to be a
concern, the growing number of dogs entering my clinic with multiple tick-borne
infections adds a new wrinkle to the situation, ďsaid Ebertís.
ďThere's really no way for pet owners to know what's wrong with
their dogs without getting them tested. With this advanced testing, we're now
able to quickly identify dogs that have become infected and work with pet owners
to look at treatment options or further diagnoses.ď
Unfortunately, Ebertís has had more involvement with tick-borne
illnesses than most veterinarians. Not only has one of his own dogs contracted
multiple tick-borne diseases, he too has been infected with a disease from these
tiny arachnids. In 2001, Ebertís became very ill with symptoms initially
prompting doctors to diagnose the veterinarian with influenza.
After a few days of rest, his symptoms subsided, and Ebertís went
back to work. Unlike the symptoms common
With most flu viruses, Ebertís' symptoms returned, leaving his
doctors confused and the veterinarian hospitalized.
Ebertís' familiarity with canine tick-borne diseases, such as
canine anaplasmosis, prompted him to suggest to his doctors that he could be
suffering from human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE), the human form of canine
anaplasmosis. The doctors agreed with Ebertís' self-diagnosis and quickly
started the veterinarian on a successful treatment program.
Fortunately, Ebertís and his dogs are all healthy and doing well
If you have never had your dogs tested and you live in an area of
ticks or even go to an area where they could be exposed. I
would suggest this testing to be done. I myself had 1 Lyme positive dog last
year. With a simple round of
antibiotics she is doing well with no symptoms ever coming about. She has been
retested and this time tested negative.
Thanks to Dr. Ebert as well for sharing this interesting