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cases. German Shepherds are more susceptible to clinical signs and mortality rates are higher than in other breeds.
Diagnosis is based on IFAT serology, blood PCR and identification of the organism in blood smears. The presence of the organism in peripheral circulation can be transient. Serology and PCR offers high sensitivity and specificity for diagnosis of infection. Although these tests demonstrate the presence of infection rather than the cause of clinical signs, treatment to eliminate the infection is important for prognosis and to avoid a carrier state with potential for chronic disease developing. Multiple tick-borne diseases are commonplace in dogs exposed to E.canis infection and co-infections causing clinical presentations should be considered.
Doxycycline is the treatment of choice for 3 weeks at 10mg/kg daily per os. Supportive treatment for thrombocytopaenia may also be required.
A.platys infection can lead to severe thrombocytopaenia approximately 2 weeks after infection. This spontaneously resolves after 3-4 days but with repeated episodes every 1-2 weeks. Infection may persist for months and the severity of clinical signs appears to be dependent on strain and coinfection with other tick- borne diseases such as E.canis. Chronic infection also puts dogs at increased risk of coagulopathy during surgery. Diagnosis and treatment is similar to E.canis with doxycycline at 10mg/kg sid per os being effective.
Tick-Borne Encephalitis
Tick Borne Encephalitis (TBE) is a virus transmitted by feeding Ixodes ricinus ticks, although it has also been transmitted through unpasteurised milk and through exposure to infected tissues in abattoirs. It may infect
a variety of mammalian hosts including dogs, foxes
and ruminants. It is a potentially severe zoonosis with infections most commonly resulting in a transient fever, but sometimes progressing to menigioencephaltitis and CNS signs. Although human infection is uncommon with 1 case per 10,000 hours spent in woodland activity, it can be fatal and so concern about its spread through Europe has been high. In Europe, it is a parasite predominantly of Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean but it has been moving north and west in its distribution with cases beginning to emerge in Scandinavia, Austria and Holland (Pettersson et al 2014).
Prevention of tick borne disease
Veterinary professionals play a vital role in giving accurate tick and tick-borne disease prevention advice, but
also putting risks in perspective for the pet owning public. Lifestyle also puts some dogs at greater risk of infestation, such as those walked in rural areas, rough pasture or land used by deer or ruminants. There may also be a history of previous tick attachment. Use of
An Urban Experience
tick preventative products should therefore be based on risk assessment. No tick preventative product is 100% effective but use of isoxalozines or pyrethroid containing products are highly efficacious and will reduce disease transmission. It is important for pet owners to be vigilant and check for ticks on their pets every day, removing any ticks with a tick removal device or fine pointed tweezers. If tweezers are used the tick should be removed with
a smooth upward pulling action. If a tick hook is used, then a simple “twist and pull” action is employed. It is important that owners are instructed how to remove ticks without stressing them and without leaving the head and mouthparts in situ. Squashing or crushing ticks in situ with blunt tweezers or fingers will stress the tick leading to regurgitation and emptying of the salivary glands, potentially leading to increased disease transmission. Traditional techniques to loosen the tick such as the application of petroleum jellies or burning will also increase this likelihood and are contra indicated.
Zoonotic tick-borne disease risk comes from infected tick bites. Avoiding high tick density areas is the most effective way of minimising this risk but these are
also some of the most popular walking and outdoor recreational sport destinations in Europe. Precautions should be taken by people enjoying these areas
such as wearing long sleeves and ensuring the lower body is covered. Pyrethroid washes for clothes or pre prepared pyrethroid impregnated clothes give long lasting repellency. Deet and citronella can also be used with some efficacy but are much shorter acting. The body should be carefully inspected for ticks after being outdoors and any ticks found removed.
Abdullah S, Helps C, Tasker S, Newbury H & Wall R (2016). Ticks infesting domestic dogs in the UK: a large-scale surveillance programme. Parasites & Vectors 9: 391
Fourie JJ, Stanneck D, Luusa HG, Beugnet F, Wijnveld M et al (2013). Transmission of Ehrlichia canis by Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks feeding on dogs and on artificial membranes. Veterinary Parasitology 197:595-603
Littman MP (2013). Lyme nephritis. Journal of Veterinary emergency critical care (San Antonio) 23:163-73
Matjila PT, Penzhorn, BL, Bekker CP, Nijhof AM & Jongejan F (2004).
Confirmation of occurrence of Babesia canis vogeli in domestic dogs in
South Africa. Veterinary Parasitology 122: 119–25.
Øines Ø, Storli K & Brun-Hansen H (2010) First case of babesiosis caused by Babesia canis canis in a dog from Norway. Veterinary Parasitology 171: 350-3
Pettersson J, Golovljova I, Vene & Jaenson TGT (2014) Prevalence of tick- borne encephalitis virus in Ixodes ricinus ticks in northern Europe with particular reference to Southern Sweden. Parasites & Vectors 7: 102
Phipps L, Del Mar Fernandez De Marco M, Hernández-Triana L, Johnson N, Swainsbury C et al (2016) Babesia canis detected in dogs and associated ticks from Essex Veterinary Record 178: 243-4.
Smith, FD. Ballantyne, R., Morgan, E. & Wall, R. (2012) Estimating Lyme disease risk using pet dogs as sentinels. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology & Infectious Diseases 35: 163-7.
Sykes RA (2014) An Estimate of Lyme Borreliosis Incidence in Western Europe. Res Medica 22: 76-87

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