This silent disease is commonly known as the ‘tracker dog’ disease, tropical canine pancytopaenia or canine hemorrhagic fever, can be spread by a bite from an infected tick.
The disease is more common in dogs than cats.
It can affect any age group, most commonly seen in middle-aged dogs.
Pure breeds are more susceptible than cross or mixed breeds.
It can affect people (although uncommon); transmission is through the tick bite only, not via the dog.
Even if you do not see ticks on your dog it is still at risk of infection – it only take one bite.
This disease has three phases, as with any disease the earlier it is caught - the easier it is to treat. The transition period through each phase will vary, but is inevitable if not treated.
Acute Phase: 1 – 3 weeks after the animal has been bitten by an infected tick.
Symptoms: fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, enlarged glands (lymph nodes), anemia, difficulty breathing, and joint pain.
With appropriate treatment received at this stage most dogs clear all traces of the parasite.
Subclinical Phase: duration varies from months to years.
Symptoms: slight anemia.
During this period the parasite typically hides out in the spleen. It is possible that the dog will eliminate the Ehrlichia from the body, however, if not the disease will progress to the chronic phase.
Symptoms: progressive weight loss, anemia, neurological issues (poor balance, tremors and seizures), spontaneous bleeding (from nose, urine or stool) and edema (fluid accumulation) of the legs.The disease during this stage can be activated by stress. If the disease continues to go untreated it will become fatal.
Remember: If you suspect any of these signs, take your pet to the vet. The disease is easy to diagnose with a simple blood test. Treatment is also simple if diagnosis is confirmed early. All testing and treatment can be done at the RAK Animal Welfare Center.
Our recommendation: Use dips/shampoos that contain ingredients such as permethrins, eg Cypermethrin which kills or repels ticks. These products can all be purchased from RAK AWC.
Summer – Once per week
Winter – Once per two weeks