All right, so let’s talk about what they consider checking for heartworms. We will hear the term all the time about doing a heartworm test. There are tests that only check for heartworm disease, but here what we do is, we do what we call a full DX, so that’s the full diagnostics. It checks for heartworms. It checks for Lyme disease. It checks for Ehrlichia. Also it checks for anaplasmosis. So heartworm disease is of course carried by mosquitoes. The other three diseases are tick-borne diseases. And since we have started testing here for tick-borne diseases, it’s amazing how many of the dogs we have found positive for, in particular, Ehrlichia.
Ehrlichia Canis is one of the bacteria that’s carried by the ticks. Usually the tick will feed. When he’s full the tick will regurgitate and this bacteria will get into the blood supply of the dog.
Many dogs will have it for a long time with no clinical signs. Some dogs will have it and they’ll have seizures. They may also have the low platelet count. They tend to have a low to low-normal platelet counts. And also the total protein tends to be either in the middle of the reference range or to the higher end of the reference range. Sometimes that gives us a clue.
Some dogs may just become lethargic, not as energetic. They may have joint sores, soreness, joint soreness. And the owner may decide to bring them in and we may check. And then we may see it being positive.
Here, if it’s the first time it was detected by the test, we usually would put them on a round of antibiotics for about a month or so. And in most cases, this would clear it up. Now there are some dogs that despite the treatment may still have this bacteria. But that’s rare and that’s something that we always have to keep in mind.
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