Your Pet Question:
Our dog Jazz has been diagnosed with ehrlichiosis. He’s had three episodes where his temperature shot up to 106 degrees. The antibiotic doxycycline helped each time, but we are hoping to find a permanent cure or at least something to manage it more reliably. Do you have any suggestions?
Hugh Twa, BC
The Expert Says:
Ehrlichia is a tick-borne intracellular organism, which makes it very difficult to treat. In fact, it’s currently unknown whether therapy can completely cure the infection. Doxycycline is the drug of choice for this condition, but recommendations for duration of therapy vary. The minimum suggestion is four weeks, but many specialists feel that six-eight weeks of therapy is more appropriate. Ehrlichiosis can also develop into a chronic disease during which chronic antigenic stimulation can produce immune-mediated “relapses”. In addition, the potential for re-infection should not be overlooked, so ensure that your dog has proper tick prevention medication at all times.
Grant Scherer is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and co-owner of the Paris Veterinary Clinic in Paris, Ontario.