Ehrlichia canis infection of the dog on Curacao
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Ticks and tick bound diseases play a major role on the Island of Curacao. During a period of three months I have done research to the clinical signs, diagnosis and therapy on dogs suspected of having an Ehrlichia canis infection. This research took place at different clinics on the island of Curaçao, mainly at the animal hospital Parera. This research is a follow-up of the research of Drs. J.S. van der Krogt. During her research she also did a three months research looking at clinical signs, diagnosis and therapy with dogs suspected of having an Ehrlichia canis infection. In total this gives us a 6 month period in which the research was done. Dogs suspect of an E. canis infection were physically examined. As many of the ticks present were removed, kept and sent for diagnostics to the Netherlands. Blood was taken for examination and snap test. Also the owners were asked to fill in a questionnaire. No further diagnostics were done on the dogs to prove Babesia vogeli. The ticks taken from the dogs and blood samples were used to look further into B. vogeli. Symptoms shown were usually a-specific. Symptoms mostly found are: anorexia, lethargy, oligodipsy and weight loss. Also some specific signs were found like: fever, lymfadenopathie, splenomegaly, pale mucous membranes and ticks on the body of the dog. 89% of the dogs have had blood examination and based on this together with clinical signs showed at 86% the diagnostic of ehrlichiosis. Of this population 84% had thrombocytopenia, 68% anemia and 8% leucopenia. 98% of the dogs had a snaptest, 72% showed positive. Not all dogs who were positive in the blood test and physical examination that were diagnosed with ehrlichiosis had antibody titers. Treatment of the infected dogs started with 5-10 mg/kg/day doxycycline hyclate during 3 weeks. This was used for 80 out of 115 infected dogs. 15 Were treated with doxycycline hyclate in combination with 0,4-5 mg/kg/day prednisolon acetate (Prednisolon ®). 6 Had an additional treatment with 6,6mg/kg imidocarb diproprionate (Imizol ®) and 0,03 – 0,1 mg/kg atropine sulfate (Atropine ®). The remaining dogs were treated with a combination of the above. Follow-up research has been done with 50% of the treated dogs after three weeks. Here a physical examination and blood test were done. All owners were asked to return after three weeks following their first consult to see if the treatment worked and if additional treatment was needed. In this research a large amount of owners returned with their dogs compared to the research of Drs. J.S. van der Krogt. Usually owners don’t return due to high costs. This is evenmore so if the dogs don’t show any clinical signs of illness. Still it of the utmost importance to repeat physical examination and blood testing to check if the dog is cleared of the bacterial infection. This research shows that 45% of the dogs needed additional treatment to clear the bacterial infection.