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Tick disease in dogs is not possible to treat permanently?


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Half year ago my dog was diagnosed with anaplasmosis/ehrlichiosis (tick caused limping, tiredness, etc.). Vet gave us antibiotics, it got better. Once we run out out of antibiotics symptoms returned. Back on antibiotics, symptoms gone. We stop antibiotics, symptoms are back. Last 6 months we were on/off antibiotics. Vet is saying that this is normal. That he has another XXX dogs in his care with this disease and that it's impossible to cure permanently. My neighbor has Siberian husky, same disease. And she is also getting monthly refills of pills from another vet.

 

Does it really mean that for another 8 - 12 years my dog will be tired, limping and permanently on antibiotics?  🤔

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17 hours ago, AndyAndyAndy said:

Half year ago my dog was diagnosed with anaplasmosis/ehrlichiosis (tick caused limping, tiredness, etc.). Vet gave us antibiotics, it got better. Once we run out out of antibiotics symptoms returned. Back on antibiotics, symptoms gone. We stop antibiotics, symptoms are back. Last 6 months we were on/off antibiotics. Vet is saying that this is normal. That he has another XXX dogs in his care with this disease and that it's impossible to cure permanently. My neighbor has Siberian husky, same disease. And she is also getting monthly refills of pills from another vet.

 

Does it really mean that for another 8 - 12 years my dog will be tired, limping and permanently on antibiotics?  🤔

Years ago, after my number 1 dog lost his appetite and was tired all the time, a visit to the vet detected parasites in his blood, which I think was caused from a bite from an infected tick. I can't remember the name of the condition, so I can't confirm it was the same as your case. The vet gave him a couple of jabs (unfortunately I don't remember what the jabs were) and prescribed him with antibiotics for 2 weeks. After that he was fine. He never got sick again. You don't mention whether you are providing any preventative action ( as already recommended by @Polar Bear above) to mitigate against further tick bites. This is a must. I give my dogs Ivermectin (mixed with a little milk) regularly and this mitigates the risk of ticks, fleas, intestinal parasites and heartworms. NB it's not suitable for collies and sheepdogs.

I would suggest that you get a different vet's opinion (not your neighbour's vet) as IMHO (my opinion only because I am not a vet) you should NOT have to continually feed the dog(s) antibiotics as this can't be good for the dog's overall health. Good luck.

Edited by Mutt Daeng
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15 hours ago, Polar Bear said:

I don't know if anaplasmosis is different, but I know 4 dogs, including mine, that had ehrlichiosis, and they all recovered. My dog was on doxycycline for 2 or 3 months, but has been fine since then, albeit with some minor impairment to his liver function. As I understand it, he may still show positive on the blood test, but he is asymptomatic. 

 

However, there is no lasting immunity. They can be reinfected within days of stopping treatment, so if you are an area where many ticks carry it, you need to be doing everything you can to prevent tick bites. I'd also be considering antibiotic resistance if local vets are routinely putting dogs on them for years at a time. 

Good advice regarding tick bite prevention.

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As Polar Bear has said - preventing your dog from being reinfected is the most important treatment. The parasites are carried by ticks - which transmit the Ricketsia to your dog when they feed. (on your dog).   We have ticks in my area (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) - and after having 2 of my dogs infected - I now treat them monthly with Nexgard.

Both of my dogs recovered completely after a 10 day course of Doxy & NSAIDs.

I am a vet - but am no authority on tick fever, as it was not something we saw in southern Australia where I had my practice.

If your dog is having reoccurring symptoms because he is being reinfected - prevention is the cure.  If his symptoms are reoccurring because the medication & his immune system cannot eliminate the parasite - I would be concerned that there could be other issues at play here - autoimmune?  It would be prudent to have your dog reassessed and maybe get the opinion of a different vet. 

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The problem with systemics (ivermectin, Nexgard, Bravecto, etc.) is that the tick has to bite before they work. They are very effective at killing ticks before they can lay eggs, preventing an infestation, but none of them kill fast enough to reliably prevent the tick passing on the parasite before they die. (My dog was on Spectra Nexgard when he contracted ehrlichiosis.)

 

If you are trying to prevent tick-borne diseases, you need a tick repellent. The disadvantage there is that even the best ones are only around 80% effective (compared with almost 100% for systemics). I double up now, a repellent spot-on (Vectra 3D) and a systemic (Bravecto), plus manually checking for ticks daily.

 

This is under veterinary advice because the ehrlichiosis nearly killed him, and he might not survive another round of it. Locally bred dogs seems to have better resistance to it.

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5 hours ago, Polar Bear said:

The problem with systemics (ivermectin, Nexgard, Bravecto, etc.) is that the tick has to bite before they work. They are very effective at killing ticks before they can lay eggs, preventing an infestation, but none of them kill fast enough to reliably prevent the tick passing on the parasite before they die. (My dog was on Spectra Nexgard when he contracted ehrlichiosis.)

 

If you are trying to prevent tick-borne diseases, you need a tick repellent. The disadvantage there is that even the best ones are only around 80% effective (compared with almost 100% for systemics). I double up now, a repellent spot-on (Vectra 3D) and a systemic (Bravecto), plus manually checking for ticks daily.

 

This is under veterinary advice because the ehrlichiosis nearly killed him, and he might not survive another round of it. Locally bred dogs seems to have better resistance to it.

The more you can protect your dog(s) the better IMHO.

The point you make about the tick potentially passing on parasites when it bites is valid, but the info on the ivermectin powder sachet that I use says it protects against intestinal parasites as well as killing ticks. Perhaps that's why my dogs now don't get sick.

 

 

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Ivermectin is excellent for killing intestinal parasites (though not tapeworm), and it is fairly effective against tick infestations, although it takes several days to kill them. It also prevents heartworm, which is endemic here. However, it is not useful for blood parasites like ehrlichiosis.  

 

Having said that, you say your dog was treated with two injections plus antibiotics, so I suspect it was babesiosis. There was a laboratory-based study a couple of years ago suggesting ivermectin had an inhibitory effect on Babesia. I can't remember the exact details, but the results were promising, so you might be seeing the effects of that.

 

(Note for anyone else reading this, do NOT start giving your dog ivermectin without getting them tested for heartworm first. If they already have a mature heartworm infection, it can kill them. Once you know they are clear, it must be given every month as a preventative. If you don't give it for more than 8 weeks, they need to be tested again before you restart.)

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After years of applying Ivermectin and the like every three months as per instructions, I followed "village wisdom" and gave them doses 10 days apart. Gone. Some days I was literally taking off a hundred ticks, I hardly bother to look now.

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It depends what you are using it for. Giving ivermectin every 3 months is fine for intestinal worms, useless for ticks and potentially fatal with heartworm.

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5 hours ago, Polar Bear said:

It depends what you are using it for. Giving ivermectin every 3 months is fine for intestinal worms, useless for ticks and potentially fatal with heartworm.

The problem with potential toxicity of treating dogs already infected with Dirofilaria (heartworm) was a major issue when medicating with DEC (DiEthylCarbamazine) - but is not a great risk with Ivermectin treatment.  

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First off, dogs do not get Anaplasmosis ,that is a cattle tick disease ,more than likely Babesia.

Babesia takes a dog a long time to get over it  ,but normaly it does not come back for a loge time ,but like cattle that dog will be "salted' for a long time ,that is if you do a blood test it will show systems ,but the dog will be eating ok and general ok.

As for limping with Babesia ,yes in cattle certain breeds of tics can cause praises in the hind quarters ,never heard of it in dogs ,I would get another vet to look at it .

 

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