Tetracycline (22 mg/kg given every eight hours) or doxycycline (5 mg/kg every twelve hours), administered daily for four weeks, represent the treatment of choice for canine ehrlichiosis. Fever generally subsides within 24-72 hours after treatment. In fact, failure to respond to a tetracycline antibiotic in dogs with acute or mild chronic phase argues against a diagnosis of ehrlichiosis.

Severe chronic or complicated disease may require longer treatment course: Hemorrhage, immunosuppression, or concurrent infections with Babesia , Bartonella or Leishmania species may contribute to the death of chronically affected dogs, despite the tetracycline therapy. Supportive therapy, including fluids, blood transfusion, vitamins, and anabolic steroids are required in some patients.

Often no elimination of the pathogen is achieved, especially when animals have not been treated during the acute phase, but later during the subclinical or chronic phase. Nevertheless dogs with chronic infection still have a good prognosis if treatment has been performed for one month and no further concurrent disease or infection is worsening the clinical state during treatment. Following the therapeutic elimination of the organism, dogs do not develop protective immunity and can be reinfected when reintroduced to a pathogen-competent tick.

A vaccination is not available at the moment so that the only current way of prophylaxis is a tick prophylaxis and control.


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