As spring and summer heat up, so will transmission of Ehrlichia, a tick borne virus, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) Forecast Maps for 2014, which predict a very active season for transmission of Ehrlichia for all endemic areas particularly the Southeast with an extreme risk of infection for those in Oklahoma and Texas.
Ehrlichiosis is an emerging disease caused by a rickettsia: a type of bacteria that infects dogs, people, and less commonly cats. Ehrlichiosis was first recognized as a disease in the United States in the late 1980’s, but did not become a reportable disease until 1999. In dogs, most cases of ehrlichiosis are caused by E, canis. Transmission is always from tick bites. Although people and dogs often live in close relationship and may be infected by the same species of ticks, direct cross infection is not known to occur. Ehrlichia is most often transmitted by the Brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus). Infection is thought to require several hours of tick to the dog attachment and clinical signs may not demonstrate for 1-3 weeks. To find out more about ehrlichiosis click here.
Prevention of Ehrlichiosis
Preventing exposure to the ticks that carry Ehrlichia is the best means of preventing ehrlichiosis. Check your dog daily for ticks and remove them as soon as possible (it is believed that ticks must feed for at least 24-48 hours to spread Ehrlichia). This is especially important in peak tick season or if your dog spends time in the woods or tall grass (consider avoiding these areas in tick season).
Products that prevent ticks such as monthly parasite preventatives (e.g., Frontline®, Advantage 2®, Advantix 2®) or tick collars (e.g., Preventic®) can be used; be sure to follow your veterinarian’s advice when using these products. Keep grass and brush trimmed in your yard, and in areas where ticks are a serious problem, you may also consider treating the yard and kennel area for ticks.
Source: Pet Health Network