Ehrlichia in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment

While most people are most concerned about the tick transmitted Lyme disease, there is another disease transmitted by certain species of ticks known as Ehrlichia. Signs of Ehrlichia can occur 1-3 weeks after the bite of an infected tick, and in the acute phase of the disease, symptoms may last up to a few weeks. The organism likes to live inside blood cells and can destroy the platelets involved with blood clotting. Organisms can also be found inside lymph nodes, the bone marrow, liver and spleen.

Ehrlichia is another common tick-borne disease for dogs in addition to Lyme disease

Symptoms of Ehrlichia in dogs during the acute phase can vary from joint pain and stiffness, fever, lethargy, bruising and anemia. Many dogs can overcome the infection on their own, but others may enter a subclinical or chronic phase of infection, which can be much more difficult to clear and/or treat. In some cases, chronic neurological symptoms can occur as well as inflammation of the eyes. Some dogs can have repeated bouts of illness, especially during periods of stress.

Diagnosis of Ehrlichia is typically based on blood tests often run at the veterinary office, in conjunction with clinical signs being present of illness. It is important to recognize that many dogs with Ehrlichia can test positive but have no clinical signs, and in those cases treatment is not always needed. Treatment is typically instituted with a 3 to 4 week course of either tetracycline or Doxycycline, and most animals improve within several days of instituting therapy.

The best advice that can be given to prevent this disease is to practice good tick prevention including use of products such as Frontline Plus, Flea4X Plus, or Advantix II. Tick collars such as the Preventic Tick Collar also may be used. Although humans can also occasionally come down with Ehrlichiosis, it is only through tick bites, and not from dogs.

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  1. My 7 year old Shih Tzu was diagnosed with a tick borne disease and given 80 mg of doxycycline once per day and a steroid shot at the vet office. His blood work was low in white blood cells and anemia. I brought him to the vet for his fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Although he acting a little better (more active prior to the medicine, but his old self), his temperature is 101.7 and he is still refusing food he normally would gobble up. Since he doesn’t seem to have much appetite, I have been feeding him pedialyte and homemade baby food which consist of apples, bananas, cooked beef, and rice by syringe. Luckily, he is still drinking water. Is there anything else I can do???

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJune 13, 2014 at 6:28 pm · Reply

      I would ask vet about ongoing pred or steroid therapy, which is sometimes necessary when there is immune mediated disease with the tick born illnesses. ALso you could explore homeopathy as an option as well. To learn more, go to as well as my website MAny homeopaths offer long distance phone consultations, but process does take time, patience and committment

  2. I would like to add my fur baby is 15.67 lbs and started his treatment June 11th, 3 pm for his steroid shot and 5pm for his doxy.

  3. Hi,
    My Lhasa apso is two years old. He started breathing heavily two days ago. He vomited frothy fluid too. I took him to the vet. He had 104 degrees Fahrenheit fever. The vet did a ehrlichia canis immunoglobin test. It was negative. He suspected ehrlichiosis and started tetracycline IV once a day. My dog has received two doses. He still has 103 degrees fever. He is breathing heavily. Respiratory rate is super high.he is panting. Please help. Do u think diagnosis is correct? What else could it be? Please reply quickly thank you

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJune 22, 2014 at 6:35 pm · Reply

      Does not sound like correct diagnosis to me esp if test negative. Ask for complete Blood work, x rays and ultrasound.

  4. I have a question. My dog is a rescue from the Caribbean, we brought her home last July since she was blind we were concerned about her care. Recently she hasn’t been eating and had lost weight, did a blood panel which indicated leukemia. We did a another test and had it sent to the University of Colorado. I chatted with the woman from the shelter where we got the dog, she said to check for Ehrlichia so we did a titer for that also. She tested positive for Elrlichia so we have been treating her with doxycycline. Now the test has come back and the T Cells indicate either Lymphoma or Leukemia. My vet is suggesting to see an oncologist about an ultrasound and a bone marrow aspirate. The fees I’m getting are over $1000+. Should I wait to see if Stormy recovers from the chronic phase. She is approx. 8 + yrs old and about 14 lbs. Thank you for you time.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJune 22, 2014 at 6:35 pm · Reply

      Tough questions. Sorry to hear about your dog. Consulting with oncologist probably best conventional vet move. Also consider exploring homeopathy. To learn more see the information and referral list on website

      • Thank you for your response. After seeing the oncologist it is not all gloomy news. I have hope of having Stormy for a few more years. Thanks again!

        • Very curious on what you did find out from the oncologists we have a very similar situation only kinda reversed. First told infection (none specified) and had been treating for that then was told t-cell lymphoma so started treating with prednisone and stopped the doxy after only 2weeks.

  5. I have also read that one cell type, lymphocyte can be confused with certain types of leukemia

  6. My 14yr old American Staffordshire Bull Terrier was just diagnosed with Ehrlichiosis and is on Minocycline 100mg 3 caps twice a day for 21 days. My vet didnt tell me much about this. Everything I’m reading still says she may not make it throw this. Any information or guidance is appreciated

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJune 22, 2014 at 5:56 pm · Reply

      True Ehrlichia does have guarded prognosis, as sometimes this parasite can cause bleeding problems, low white counts, platelet counts, etc Many dogs become carriers and never get sick the rest of their lives.

  7. My 55 lb dog tested positive for Lyme disease and shows no symptoms. She’s chasing ducks in the water and running around the park 5-6 hours at a time and hasn’t lost her appetite at all. The vet suggested 200mg of doxycycline every 12 hrs. Is this right because I see you suggested 2.5mg to 5mg per lb and I don’t want to overdose her. Thanks!

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJune 27, 2014 at 11:12 pm · Reply

      Hi Tori. Your vet’s dose is fine as mine is range from 2.5 to 5 mg per pound once to twice daily. Whether to treat an asymptomatic dog who tests positive is controversial. Many dogs exposed to lyme disease, can test positive but most never show any signs of disease or infection.

  8. My 4 month old boxer was diagnosed with Ehrlichiosis a week ago. He was just released from the vets office and we brought him home yesterday. He is on doxicyline, amoxicillin, tramadol, and lasix. He is still rather swollen and has no function of either leg on his right side. He can sit up with a lot of effort bit he cannot stand or walk. Will this come back? Is there anything we can do to help rehab him back to walking?
    Thank you.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJune 29, 2014 at 4:15 pm · Reply

      Sounds like another diagnosis has been missed here as Ehrlichia does not cause paralysis like this typically. Sometimes oral cortisone like prednisone can help, so I would have recheck exam with your vet.

  9. Hi, my dog Jasper recently tested positive for Ehrlichia, so I brought him to a vet who put him on Amoxicilin. He vomitted while being on two pills a day, so I gave him a break and re-started him at one pill a day. But after a few days of that, he peed about a 1/4 of a tablespoon of blood (that I know of) in his pee. Could this be the Ehrlichia, Amoxicilin or something else? Thank you so much!

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 1, 2014 at 2:52 pm · Reply

      Could be related to Ehrlichia which affects bone marrow and blood clotting in some dogs due to affect on platelet numbers. I also prefer a prescription antibiotic different than amoxi. Doxycycline is first choice in most cases and I would ask your vet about this.

  10. My 11 year old Black Lab has been diagnosed with Ehrlichia He has not shown any symptoms The vet prescribed Minocycline 100 mg.because he said that the Doxycycline has gone through the roof in costs. Although when I tried to fill the prescription for the minocycline it is $200-375.00 for 224 capsules. Is this accurate, and will the minocycline work as well?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 25, 2014 at 9:06 pm · Reply

      Minocycline should work as well, but not sure of price.

      • Also, after calling around – I was able to find the Doxycycline – which is what he wanted to prescribe in the first place. But the Vet Clinic where I found it, said that to give my 11 year old, 91 lb. Lab 400 mg. in the AM and then 400 mg. in the PM was way too much. She recommended only giving him 200 mg. in the AM and 200 mg. in the PM. What is correct?

        • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 26, 2014 at 8:14 pm · Reply

          Dose of doxy has wide range from 2.5 to 5 mg per pound once to twice daily. 200 mg twice daily is a bit low…. I would go with minimum dose of 250 mg twice daily to a maximum dose of 500 mg twice daily.

  11. What is the LONG TERM prognosis for a 12 month old Toy Manchester infected and treated for Ehrlichiosis at 12 weeks? He developed slight bowing of his stifle joints, but runs, jumps and currently shows no ill effects. His vet says he’s in excellent health. He is out of 2 champions and even won points at a recent AKC dog show! I was worried about arthritis as I am thinking of buying him for a pet. I have videos of him running and jumping the same as his sister. I would appreciate a professional response if possible.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 25, 2014 at 9:05 pm · Reply

      Many dogs dont have any problems with chronic relapsing arthritic symptoms from Ehrlichia , however occasionally in other dogs a chronic relapsing infection is possible. I would make sure on good natural low carb, low grain diet like wysong epigen diet from 1800petmeds, as well as use supplements like proanthozone from 1800petmeds, as well as yucca intensive glycoflex.

      • Thank you for your response. I also know not to allow these dogs to get overly stressed. The terrier has had 3 x-rays looking for joint issues, but none were found in spine, hips or legs. Breeder says the muscles running along the stifle joint were compromised and the legs have compensated by developing larger thighs. He looks like he works out! LOL I’m not as worried about this, as I would be joint problems and would definitely keep him on a specific diet.

  12. My asymptomatic dog is at the end of her doxycycline treatment for Lyme disease and I’ve noticed that she has 1.5 pills left when she shouldn’t have any. Since she missed one of her AM/PM dosages, do I have to restart her the treatment? THANKS!

  13. i have a 10 year old mutt mix her name is misty. I love my dog with all my heart she has gotten me through some rough times and i refuse to let this crap hurt her she was just diagnosed with Ehrlichia but she has no signs of the test just came up positive my worst fear is that it will eventually hurt her or get worse. We always use her monthly tick medicine and i just cant believe this has happened to her. Do you think if we give her the doxy treatment that it will eradicate this crap before it gets bad or before it activates in her body. After reading these stories i am so disheartened and feel like no dog gets better from this. Please advise should we do the antibiotics now while she is still strong and normal. I feel like waiting for symptoms to occur is a terrible idea.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 30, 2014 at 11:05 am · Reply

      I think a one month course of doxycycline is fine to use now, but there are no guarantees that this will eradicate the disease, as some dogs still have chronic ehrlichia that can resurface later. I find working with holistic vets the best way at helping build the immune system, given the limitations of simply antibiotics alone in curing this.

  14. My 3 1/2 year old pitbull Ray has been diagnosed with ehrlichia. About a month ago he wasnt eating and sick so we took him to the Vet and they tested for ehrlichia and was negative. A few days later he looked better and was playing more. I was like ok bad food or something. Fast forward a to July 23-24 he started having seizures. Then late on the 24th had major seizure I thought he was going to die. Called emergency Vet (different vet)at 3 in morning they gave him valium and IV and retested him where he tested postive plus high liver values and blood cell count bad. He stayed there for 5 days and put on Doxy and liver herbs,it was not until the 4th day he looked a little better with less salivation but still off from seizure. We took him home this Wenesday and he had two more small seizures but has not had any since. At times it seems like he is getting better but now he is limping alot more even thou he has been limping a little for a year (wonder if this caused it). Right now he is much better than he was but I am still worried about my best buddy. Here is a few questions if you could please answer.

    How long on average does it take before antibiotic take affect and you see a difference in liver and blood cell count?

    Will the limping subside when the disease is under control and is there any supplement I can give him?

    Even thou it is different for every dog in your experience what is the normal time frame that a dog responds to treatment and returns to his oldself?

    Thank You for your time and support. It is harder here in Mexico to get answers from Vets than in the US.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianAugust 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm · Reply

      Usually antibiotics work within 2 to 3 weeks to see effects on liver and count. Limping should subside. Try supplements like proanthozone and yucca intensive from 1800petmeds. Usually dogs respond within a few weeks. I find this disease difficult to predict in response to traditional drugs. You may want to consult with homeopathic vet To learn more about homeopathy go to as well as my website Many homeopathic vets offer phone consultations.

  15. my dog has been diagnosed with tick disease, here in Guanacaste costa rica. her eyes are very cloudy with a lot of discharge.this has persisted for over two weeks of antibiotic therapy, two pills twice a day. it looks like she is going blind. for two days there has been a spot of blood in the middle of her eye. is there hope for saving her vision? is this a symptom of the tick disease or something else? she is also on antibiotic eyedrops twice a day but i don’t see much improvement. Help!

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianAugust 12, 2014 at 5:05 pm · Reply

      The bleeding in the eye can occur as a result of bleeding tendency from the tick born disease. I would make sure she has been on antibiotic like doxycycline for several weeks orally. Also ask vet for referral to specialist in your area if possible.

    • Her liver enzymes are probably real high make sure she gets something for the liver. I live in mexico and know its had to get some stuff but if you can get Country Life Liver Support Factors did my dog wonders. Believe me my dod was in bad shape coundnt see for days was on some other liver supplement here once I changed to Country Life it was incredible. Good luck with her she can come back.

  16. What ever you do stay away from anything with high levels of iron or you’re wasting your time with doxy.

  17. Hello Dr, Dym,

    My 2 dogs were prescribed with Doxy for 30 days but platelet count was still low 2 weeks after. They were then given 2 shots of Imizol, 2 weeks apart, then a test “confirmed” they were cured of Ehrlichia. Should I have then retested and this time with ELISA? Thanks a million.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 8, 2014 at 8:00 am · Reply

      I would retest in 3 months. So happy for you and your pet

    • Hi Eric,
      would you mind giving me a bit more information on the injections of Imizol?
      Firstly, what country are you in? Secondly, was your Vet confident in giving this injection as a safe procedure? My dog needs to try this, but another Vet suggested to the people caring for her in malaysia that it may cause her liver damage.
      Are both your dogs fine now in 2016?

      thank you for any advice you can give.

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  19. Hi! I have a dog that needs to travel overseas but has failed the tick fever test due to it’s history and will not be permitted to travel. Is there a possibility of it ever testing negative eventually? Thanks!

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianDecember 6, 2014 at 7:09 pm · Reply

      Many pets will test negative with time and if they are not re exposed. That could be months or even years in some cases. Every pet is different.

  20. I adopted a street dog just three months ago. She is about two years old and similar in appearance to a small labrador. She needed to be treated for tick infestation. She was symptomless but overnight developed blue eye and two days later she became completelyblind even though the blue appeared to be improving. She is aneamic also but eating well, full of energy and has no symptoms other than the blindness. She is being treated with Doxy. Could someone let me know the probability of her recovering her eyesight. Thanks.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianDecember 6, 2014 at 5:04 pm · Reply

      Hard to say answer to this. I would make appointment to see veterinary opthomologist to evaluate eyesight and long term prognosis.

      • Hi Dr Dun, thank you for answering so many questions on this site. I am from Brazil and each vet here gives a different diagnosis/prognosis etc. for which they charge a lot. Three days after 150 mg 2X day Doxy her eyes are clearing nicely from zombie white to brown again. She appears to be regaining a little of her sight and there is still some cloudiness so hopefully that will clear and her sight return.

  21. Hi Dr Dym
    Our dog tested positive for E canis using IFA test her titer is 1:100. Could I ask is that high? what is the point at which the test will come back negative? also how long do you think it would take for the antibodies to reduce to show a negative result. She has not been symptomatic, we never found a tick, no hikes (we live in manhattan) and are now doing a re-test. We are due to export her back to australia and are beside ourselves with worry. Any advice is so greatly appreciated.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianDecember 6, 2014 at 5:03 pm · Reply

      Great questions. Noone knows how long titers will last on exposure to Ehrlichia, as well as no one really knows if positive titers mean a dog ever had symptoms or will ever get sick. It just means exposure. Not sure about what levels would be for test to come out negative. Given how the only traditional options we have are multiple courses of doxycycline and/or prednisone if your dog becomes clinical, I would try improving her overall level of health through a more holistic life style, etc

  22. Hello,
    I am with rescue in Florida. Many dogs come out and test positive for Ehrlichia . The vet is using the following dosage. 6/100mg doxi a day for 30 days.. Please advise if this is too much. It seems a bit extreme and it is very costly due to the outrageous prices the pharmas have hike the doxi up to . Does tetracycline do the same thing, have the same results and with no side effects? If so, what is the dosage. Please give in layman terms as I am not a vet :-) Thanks so much

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianDecember 25, 2014 at 10:20 am · Reply

      Dose of doxycycline is 2.5 to 5 mg per pound once to twice daily in a dog fro 3 to 4 weeks. Tablets or capsules come in 50 or 100 mg strength. As for tetracycline, i dont like using it because it causes more digestive upset and must be given three times daily.

  23. Hi Dr Dym,
    I was in the process of exporting my dog to Australia unfortunately he was tested mild positive by the local vet e-canis test but his blood count was normal. The vet advised to give him 6 months doxy treatment before proceed with the lab test and further exporting procedures. I’m confused when Ehrlichia should affect the blood counts but his blood counts is fine but yet tested positive. I’m staying back in Singapore just for his relocation thingy. I’m so worry if he would failed the test after 6 months. Does the lab test concern on both the blood count and antibodies or just the antibodies itself?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 7, 2015 at 7:22 am · Reply

      I would look at both the blood count AND the antibody test, but the antibody test can remain positive for years. I personally dont treat lab values, but the patient and only if clinical. I at most put dogs on 1-2 months of doxycycline, and then stop

  24. Hi!

    I’m from the Philippines. I have three male shih tzus (6 yrs, 5 yrs and 1 yr old). Last December, they were all diagnosed and treated for Ehrlichia infection, with the oldest one showing the worst symptoms (severe bruising). They are okay now. However, after about two weeks that they stopped their meds, the oldest one started showing signs of dominance and aggression. He would snap and bite my 5 yr old, even drawing blood. The 5 yr old now fights back and our home is becoming a big fighting arena. The 6 yr old does not attack the 1 yr old. Before all of this, the 6 yr old and the 5 yr old have been co-existing exeptionally well and we WERE in a state of perfect peace. Is there any clinical or even anecdotal reports of behavioral changes following treatment of Ehrlichiosis? If there is none, what could be causing their “sudden” behavioral changes. Thanks a lot.

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianFebruary 9, 2015 at 11:06 pm · Reply

      Because Ehrlichia can cause neurological pathology in some pets, it is possible to see behavioral changes theoretically.

  25. Hi,

    My youngest dog tested positive for ehrlichia in May when she went in for a tooth extraction. Her platelet count was 6 (yikes! scary), a month later it was 24 (still scary) and 45 days after that it was 104 (better but not good). She was on Doxy 50mg twice a day for this whole time. After the 104, they stopped the Doxy and we went back after 2 weeks and her platelets were down to 84. So now on Doxy again but only 50mg daily this time. She never had a problem with the first 105 days on it but now she is vomiting several hours after medication is given and when she eats regular food (2-15 hours). Is the Doxy causing this or do I need to take her in for another issue? What kind of prognosis with all this? She will have taken Doxy for 135 days when we go back in 2 weeks. The vet said she is in the subacute chronic phase. She has no blood in vomitus, urine or feces. Plays and acts normal most of the time. Occasionally she will act lethargic and the vet said that was normal. Thank you.

  26. Hi! My bichon has tested positive on ehrlichia. Her platelets downed to 1 and has some bruising, weak , has fever and doesn’t want to eat. She was then confined overnight for hydration and administration of meds. Then she was discharged the next day. Prescribed doxy 4ml for 30 days, prednisone 4m for 7 days. With liver supplement and vit. C… She is eating a lot but we noticed that she is always panting and has runny nose after she take the doxy and prednisone. Is it a normal side effect? And the is the dosage correct? She weighs 4.2kg

  27. my female springer 8 years old was found positive t erlichia, she took a course of 400mg doxycycline per day for 8 weeks, and a two weeks break. She marked again positive and the vet prescribed another 2 weeks 400mg doxycycline per day and a break of 10 weeks for the 3rd test. The problem is that after the 5th day of the second treatment she lost her appetite. I am cooking beef, veal, rabbits, chicken and all the dished she loved however she is not eating. I am forcing chucks of food down her mouth and hoping that when I stop the pills she will gain her appetite again.
    Is the lack of appetite a cause of erlichia or the pills are making her sick?
    Since she hates the pills is there any alternative (such as injection etc)?
    Can I harm her by forcing food down her mouth?

    In general she is quite well, looking forward to go out and demonstrates normal energy.

  28. I’ve been dealing with this illness for my now 1year and 5 mos old shih tzu. She was tested positive for ehrlichiosis some time october of last year and we’ve been dealing with relapse episodes. Her last doxy treatment was a month ago and is doing fine until today. She is again looking lethargic and has poor appetite (she has been a picky eater ever since). She responds to doxy well each time we give her treatment and blood test improves every after a month of treatment but my problem is she is easily reinfected. Not sure is she is easily stressed or what, my question is do you have any advise to improve her situation? I will try anything and have tried all the things I read online as i am desperate. :(

  29. Hi! My 4yr old japanese spitz has been diagnosed by his vet with ehrlichia. He has anemia which is a normal symptom of ehrlichia, but he has normal levels of platelets. I was just wondering if the vet’s diagnosis is correct since the platelet levels are normal. As what I’ve read ehrlichia is characterized with pancytopenia which is contradictory to his normal platelet result. Please help. Thank you.

  30. My dog sundance is a 10 year old golden retriever and he had a checkup in July of this year. He tested positive for ehrlichia and he wasn’t showing signs.. I’m not sure when he was bit and I didn’t educate myself on this disease as soon as I should have. He got his annual shot at the vet and was shortly after having trouble standing. I thought the shot he got had something to do with it. But a week or so ago he has not lost most of his vision (I’m not sure how much) he’s been drinking water and eating canned dog food mixed with dry dog food because he refuses to eat his regular dry food. He’s on doxycycline although we read the dosage incorrectly after 3 days of using it. We gave 1 pill every 12 hours instead of 2 every 12 hours. Now we’re doing the right amount but he’s so skinny and his spine is so hard and I can feel his ribs. We took him to the vet 2 days ago and she drew blood from him and said everything had leaned toward ehrlichia, even though she thought otherwise before the blood test (cancer…..) I’m so scared that I’m going to lose him. He went from a 10 year old dog that still ran/ fast trotted and jumped all over to now a 10 year old dog that just lays down and doesn’t always eat his food.. on top of this all, he’s blind, I’m not sure how severely. I just know he has hemorrhages in his eyes. It’s just incredible how sudden everything just hit him. Please. Help me out if you can.

  31. We pulled a shelter dog from Miami-Dade who had ticks and ehrlichia, which I had never heard of before so my house full of rescue dogs came down with it. I lost several before my vet diagnosed it about two years ago, and they all had 90 days of doxycycline whether they showed symptoms or not. I just lost another dog yesterday very suddenly who was bleeding from her nose right before she died. She had a low-grade fever and was lethargic, but no other symptoms so the vet gave her cipro. Could this be the ehrlichia coming back two years later after they were treated for three times as long as the recommendations I’m reading here?

    Thank you so much for your help. I love my vet but he’s definitely not an expert on ehrlichia…

  32. My dog of 8 years, Jack, a red head border collie, just died today of erhlichiosis. I’m very heart broken. I noticed him losing weight two weeks ago. But he had not been eating much food only doggie bacon. If you found out in time to still have your best friend around you are so lucky. I wish I would have taken him in sooner. He was skin and bones and staring to bleed in his stool the night before I took him in. My vet did not tell me his prognosis was this bad. I didn’t get to say goodbye to him and the last time I saw him was when I dropped him off and he couldn’t walk. He died in the middle if the night and I feel so bad for him.

  33. it looks as though Dr. Dym has not responded to comments for some time, but i will ask my questions anyway.

    I’m in Thailand and have a rescued thai dog. she’s had recurring bouts of e canis, and is being treated currently. i brought
    her to my normal vet 3 weeks ago and he did a snap test which was negative. her bloodwork from a couple weeks before
    looked ok and he didn’t repeat it. he didn’t think it was e canis. a couple days later she was looking poorly and i took her
    to the pet hospital instead. her WBCs were very low. platelets low. the gave her a series of 3 injections over 6 days of
    leukoplus to increase white blood cells, plus doxy.. after 2 weeks of treatment, wbcs are good, but platelets still low. 114k.
    they don’t do tick serology here, no x rays, or other tests, they just treat if suspected ecanis. i think the diagnosis is correct
    but wonder is 45 days treatment enough? other vets are saying 60 days treatment..? how do i know which is best for her? are there any alternative treatments that rid the body of the parasites? what else can i do for her?

    like an above commenter, i rescued my dog from the street, but she rescued me from depression and i’m beside myself that i can’t rid her of this parasite.. how is it some dogs can clear the parasites by themselves? why do some Vets treat with two doses per day and some only one? are both prescriptions effective? thank you.

  34. Hi. It seems that Dr.Dym hasn’t been answering questions for a while… But I really need all the help I could get. My 2 year old shih tzu gave birth to three wonderful pups last November through c-section. We experienced some problems with her after that (her wound bleeding and her experiencing fever) which resulted to us leaving her at the vet. Now, a month after, she started vomiting and when we had her checked at the vet she was diagnosed with ehrlichiosis with the help of a blood test which showed that she was anemic. She shivers a lot and doesn’t eat that much. Whenever I would move her, she would shiver uncontrollably, but when she’s just lying down she seems fine. She also tends to try to vomit but nothing would come out of her mouth or I’m assuming she’s eating her vomit. Her body has also turned red and she has these things stuck on her ears which I’m not really sure what to call. I tried looking it up on the internet but I found nothing similar to the thing on my dog’s ear. She also squints her eyes and she would bring her tongue out a lot and shivers. I’ve been giving her doxycycline, liverolin, ferrous gluconate, metoclopramide and lc-scour, all prescribed by the vet. I’ve been diligently giving her this for the past few days but she seems to be getting worst. She’s having a hard time moving and now prefers to lie down and doesn’t follow me around anymore like she used to. I also noticed that she shakes when she stands up and when she walks which results in me carrying her around everywhere she needs to go. She also vomited recently after drinking water. She vomited a large amount of liquid and even the food I gave her. It really shocked me because she usually didn’t really vomit and she would usually vomit a white foamy substance. It’s also been a bit hard since she still has her little ones to take care of. I, honestly, don’t trust the vet that diagnosed my dog that much for numerous reasons and I can’t go for a 2nd advice since vet clinics have been closed due to the holidays. I think I read somewhere here or elsewhere that ehrlichiosis doesn’t cause a dog to have difficulties in moving. So I was thinking maybe my dog doesn’t just have ehrlichiosis?

  35. Hello,
    Like many here, I have a rescue dog (from Thailand). Over a year ago I began the export to Australia, taking her via Malaysia, for her required quarantine period and tests. the last test was e.canis – which she failed (though she was never symptomatic). That was over a year ago. I am just back from Malaysia, trying to assess what else can be done. i went to many Vets as the one she has been seeing only suggested the antibiotic treatment. One very good Vet advised that the quickest, most successful treatment is a shot of Imizol.

    I would like to know why so few Vets seem to know about or administer Imizol??
    Even here in all the examples, very few discuss Imizol as a treatment. The only one i saw was Eric Sugi’s post.
    Is this because it is a relatively delicate procedure and Vets are not taught this for general practice???
    Is this because it is too damaging to the liver?

    I am getting mixed reviews and I am afraid to make my dog’s health worse – but have no chance to get her out of Malaysia if i do not try it as antibiotics have made no impact on her blood platelet levels and she is still not permitted into Australia.

    Anyone who has any information – good or bad – on Imizol – please advise – it will help many people on this site as well as myself and my dog.

    thank you in advance

  36. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 19, 2016 at 5:02 pm · Reply

    Yes. This is one that you have to run by a veterinary internist or board certified specialist, as this is not a drug that I am aware of that is widely used in this country, so I really cant comment or suggest anything about its use

  37. My dog, a 10 y/o Wheaten got very sick two summers ago (terrible neck pain, etc). He tested neg for Lyme/ehrlichia in July 2014. Spinal tap confirmed SRMA/meningitis. Treated with prednisone and Cyclosporine. Just had a small relapse January 2016 treated with pred only. Now he just tested pos for Ehrlichia in March 2016. Platelets are fine. No symptoms. Vet says not to treat bc not clinical. Says he may have already cleared it. Do you agree I can wait? Wouldn’t it be weird that he could have cleared it while he’s been so immune compromised? Help!

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 25, 2016 at 12:52 am · Reply

      No problem to wait, but I would follow your vet’s recommendations. I honestly think a 3 to 4 week course of doxycycline cant hurt, and may even help

  38. Hi, my furbaby is positive with Ehrliciosis. Hes taking doxy and sangobion because his platelet count is so low, around 18. Where in normal is around 200.

    Fever is already gone and he seems ok with the normal energy he has. Just today, after 30min. giving doxy, he had his first vomit, i think all the food he ate last night. Should I be worried with this status?

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 29, 2016 at 4:33 am · Reply

      If vomiting persists, see your local vet. Prescription meds like cerenia may be needed.

  39. Hi,
    I have a male medium mixed breed dog ( about 30 lbs) that will be 2 years old in July. I took him to my vet due to vomiting yellow foam, loss of appetite and diarrhea . He didn’t have a fever (101 degrees) , I’ve been told by my vet that 101 – 102.5 is normal for dogs. The only physically sign of being sick he had was slightly pale gums. They did a CBC and found his white, red and platelet levels were all very low. My vet recommended I get a ultrasound done, which revealed a mass on his liver and nodules on his liver and spleen. They did a fever panel which came back positive for ehrlichiosis. While we waiting on the fever panel results to come back he was prescribed Enrofloxacin , and they switched him to Doxy when the results came back. That night he had a allergic reaction to the Doxy with his ears, under his eyes and snout all getting swollen. We had to take him in to get a steroid and benedryl IV . They told me to put him back on the Enrofloxacin. Will him not being able to take Doxy hurt his changes of beating this infection? Is there any alternatives to Doxy ? Also when he is having a bad day he sometimes shakes and moans as if he is in pain. Is there anything I can do to make him more comfortable ?

    • I would ask your vet for a referral to a vet specialist in internal medicine in your area, who can help with potential doxy alternatives. I would also consider exploring homeopathic or holistic veterinarians, as this is one where traditional medicine does not have alot of options, in my experience and opinion. To learn more see the links on my website As for pain relief, ask your local vet about drugs like tramadol or gabapentin, which might be options for you

  40. Dear Dr.Michael Dym,

    My dog is an 11 year old female rottie mix. I adopted her when she was 2 years old from the Hawaiian Humane Society. I noticed a tick on her the day I brought her home. Removed it and thought nothing of it. Several months later I moved back to the mainland and during a heartworm screening she was diagnosed with Ehrlichia this was in 2008. I had not noticed any signs and symptoms prior to this test. She was placed on Tetracycline for 3 weeks. 8 months after treatment she was having some diarrhea and lethargy. I had blood work and an Ehrlichia antibody titer ran. The antibody titer had a weak positive which the vet felt was residual antibodies from her previous infection 8 months prior and no need for further treatment as the diarrhea and lethargy resolved. Today, 8 years later I brought her to the vet for her annual heartworm test (I live in Wisconsin). The vet had recently switched the 4X snap test. It came back positive for Ehrlichia. The vet felt this was a new occurrence as an infection from 8 years ago should not show positive. She is now on Doxycycline for 2 weeks. I am reading up on this and concerned it might be chronic she has had pale gums for as long as I can remember, stiff joints, nose and eye drainage. But recently her vision has gotten worse and she is having neurologic symptoms of confusion and disorientation which seem to be more pronounced at night. I felt this was just old age and may be related to the hearing loss she has had over the past year but now I am finding these are all possible symptoms of chronic Ehrlichia (minus the hearing loss).

    From what I am reading online most dogs are treated 3-4 week course antibiotics. Should I call the vet and ask for 2 more weeks of abx to equal 1 month abx treatment? Could these be from the Ehrlichia she was diagnosed with 8 years ago even if her antibody titer 8 months after treatment was a weak positive? Is there anyway to test if treatment has been effective? I greatly appreciate your time and response. (I am 41 days away from my BSN nursing, so I do have basic medical knowledge). Thank you again for your time.



    • HI Sara. I would perhaps ask your vet about additional 2 weeks of antibiotic doxycycline. You may also want to consult with internal medicine specialist in your area. Chronic Ehrlichia can resurface years later, even from old infection. Titers only mean exposure and not necessarily infection, unless you document rising titers over a few weeks. A PCR or additional blood testing at lab also may be more helpful in identifying recent infection. Also consider working with holistic vet on this sEe my website for more info

  41. I’m hoping so much that the Dr pops by today and can help us.
    We have a 9 yr old female boxer. We live in Spain. We have had her four years. When we got her, she tested positive for rickettsia, she was treated and all good. In December last year she developed bleeding in her poo and urine, she has also had bleeding in her third eyelid since we have had her and recently hematomas on her belly. They ran some more tests in feb of this year and she tested positive for erlichia, She was on doxy for a couple of weeks and retested negative. However they found her platelets were extremely low. They then decided she had an autoimmune problem and put on prednisona 60mg day and doxy 300mg day. She had weekly blood tests and the platelets kept going down until a week ago I took her as an emergency as she was lifeless and her platelets were zero. They now thought it was tumour or cancer. They gave her some kind of shot of antibiotic and gave me a shot to give her the following day. And two days later her platelets were at 65. We have now changed vets as we didn’t feel we were getting answers. The new vet has been great and really explains things well. He has said that in order to do some more tests to get some definitive answers she would need to come of the steroids. He has said there is a risk and it’s a decision we would have to make very carefully. We have to decide by Monday and I really don’t know what to do. Our dog is extremely lethargic and has become more so since being on the prednisona. The vet is unsure if it is chronic erlichiosis or an autoimmune prob. He wants to send the tests to Germany to try and get a definitive answer. The risk is if her platelets drop so low again, he has said he will monitor her every 2-3 days with blood checks. Can you shed any light on the situation, we have always treated her with tick ointment so I have a feeling it may be chronic and something she had before we got her. I would appreciate any advice so much. Thanking you in advance.

  42. Tough situation, but I would try and find a board certified vet internist in your area to review all options and risks. That is their expertise. Make sure dog is on melatonin as well at 3 to 6 mg twice daily which can also help with platelet production. Consider also consulting with holistic vet as well, as traditional medicine does not have much answers on case like this, as most likely autoimmune, and will need steroids, possibly other immunosuppressive drugs like atopica or cyclosporine and/or azothioprine. Even if cancer, not sure what that will change in your management from a traditional sense, so not sure I would be so in a hurry to stop or getting her off the steroids. Not easy situation, but one that I would suggest adding specialist and a holistic practitioner on board

  43. Dear Dr Dym,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to give your advice.
    Kindest regards

  44. Dr. Dyou, My ten year old lab mix had Ehrlichia 4 years ago and was treated with Doxycycline and has been o.k. until recently. He went blind over night.The vet put him on doxycycline and steroids. I know the doxycycline is normal but what about steroid use at this time? Will the steroids hurt him? Thanks, Lynn

  45. Hi Lynn. I would follow your vet’s recommendations on using the steroids. I assume he is treating “presumptive” inflammation of the optic nerve or areas of the brain involved with vision. You may want to ask your vet for a referral to a veterinary opthomologist in your area or veterinary neurologist for further testing and diagnostics

    • Dr. Dym, It has been seven day’s now and his sight is coming back but his appetite is fading. His WBC and platelets are dropping. My vet thought it was cancer but now thinks it could be from the Ehrlichia. He tested faint positive but told me that is normal once a dog contracts this tick disease? I’m very concerned! Thanks, Lynn

  46. HI Lynn. You should be consulting with a veterinary internist in your area on this, as case is very complex. There are additional tests that can be sent out to lab known as PCR tests, etc that can test if Ehrlichia is active or not.

  47. Hi,
    My dog has been tested with Ecanis for relocation to Australia and found he had titer value of 1:640 .He currently is asymptomatic although he had low platelet count 1 year back when we adopted him from rescue shelter from which I assume he got disease. Even after one month treatment with doxy his IFAT titer value was still at 640 but snap4dx test showed negative . Can you please let me know why would the snap4dx showed negative after 1 month treatment with doxy but still IFAT was still at same value . I am beside myself and very anxious with this whole Ecanis thing.

  48. Hi Anu. The IFA titer can remain elevated LONG after active infection and only means exposure to the organism at some time in the past I would not worry yourself about this or any other test, as long as pet is asymptomatic. As long as she has no clinical signs, that is most important thing and likely not current active infection

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