How To Cure Tick Fever In Dogs
Tick Fever Treatment in Dogs – When it comes to tick fever any delay in treatment could lead to increasingly severe symptoms, and may even become fatal. That’s why your vet may prescribe a round of antibiotics even before test results confirming the diagnosis come back.
- 1 How can I treat tick fever in my dog at home?
- 2 What are the stages of tick fever in dogs?
- 3 Can dogs survive tick fever without treatment?
- 4 What happens if you don’t treat tick bite fever?
- 5 Do dogs need antibiotics after tick bite?
- 6 How does dog act after tick bite?
- 7 Do dogs vomit in tick fever?
- 8 How long is treatment for tick fever?
- 9 Do dogs eat in tick fever?
- 10 Why is my dog still getting ticks after treatment?
- 11 Can a tick make a dog feel sick?
- 12 What medicine is good for dogs with fever?
- 13 What is used to treat tick fever?
How can I treat tick fever in my dog at home?
Can Humans Get Tick Fever From Dogs? – No, humans cannot get tick fever from dogs. Tick fever is a disease that is specific to dogs. It is caused by a bacteria called Rickettsia rickettsii. This bacteria is found in the saliva of certain ticks. When a tick bites a dog, the bacteria are transmitted into the dog’s bloodstream.
- Tick fever can cause a variety of symptoms in dogs, including fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, and joint pain.
- In some cases, tick fever can lead to more serious complications such as pneumonia or meningitis.
- If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, it is important to take them to the vet as soon as possible.
There is no specific cure for tick fever. However, it can be treated with antibiotics. The sooner you catch the disease and start treatment, the better the chances are for a full recovery. In addition to taking your dog to the vet, there are also some things you can do at home to help treat tick fever.
How long does it take for a dog to recover from tick fever?
The Acute Phase – During the earliest stage of Tick Fever, dogs may suffer from low-grade fever, swollen lymph nodes, unexplained bruising, loss of appetite, joint pain, nasal discharge, or difficulty breathing. This stage can last anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks, at which point the dog can appear to recover.
Can tick fever be treated at home?
There are no medications to prevent or treat CTF virus infection. Antibiotics do not treat viruses. Rest, fluids, and over-the-counter pain medications may relieve some symptoms. People with severe CTF illnesses may need to be hospitalized for intravenous fluids and medications to reduce pain and fever.
To learn more about treatment, visit our Healthcare Providers page,
Does tick fever ever go away?
Symptoms of TBRF – The main symptom of TBRF is a sudden fever that comes on within 2 weeks of being bitten by a tick. Multiple bouts of fever happen. Each can last about 3 days. The fever then goes away for about 1 week before returning. If left untreated, the cycle can continue several times. Some other symptoms of TBRF may include:
Headache Chills Sweats Muscle or joint aches Nausea Vomiting
In some cases, the fever ends in a “crisis” stage. This consists of shaking chills, intense sweating, falling body temperature, and low blood pressure.
What are the stages of tick fever in dogs?
Tick Fever Many dog owners do not know this about the tick: other than being a blood sucking parasite, a single tick may kill your dog. Tick fever, or in its scientific name – Ehrlichiosis, is caused by a bacteria that infects white blood cells and lives in them.
The common pathogen in Israel is Ehrlichia canis and it is transferred from host to host by the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus. Hence the name “Tick Fever”. The disease has 3 stages – acute, subclinical and chronic. The acute stage occurs 1-3 weeks after the dog is bitten by an infected tick.
This stage is usually mild. During this stage the dog will seem tired, decreased appetite and sometimes fever. This stage is rarely lethal. In most cases, if the dog is treated on time, he will be able to get rid of the bacteria. If the treatment is not adequate the disease will progress to the next stage.
In the subclinical stage the bacteria hides from the immune system in the spleen so the dog seems normal. A dog can stay in this state for months or even years. Despite the normal clinical appearance, a blood test may show some changes in the CBC, such as a mild decrease in the platelet count. In the chronic stage the dog will show clinical signs again.
These may be fever, tiredness, inappetence and paleness. We might also see hemorrhages or hematomas as a result of the decrease in platelet count. Diagnosis is never based on a single finding but on several tests. When a dog comes to the clinic and we find enlarged lymph nodes and fever we do a complete blood test (CBC and chemistry).
- Even more so when it is known that the dog had ticks or if we see signs of bleeding.
- When we do a CBC we will see a decrease in white blood cell count as a result of the body’s destruction of the white blood cells containing the bacteria in an attempt to get rid of the bacteria.
- We will also see a decrease in platelet count as a result of vasculitis.
We might also see anemia. In chronic cases we will also see a decrease in protein (albumin) levels and an increase in globulin (antibodies, mainly) levels. Such findings may be seen in other diseases so the next step would be a serology test and/or a PCR test.
- The serology test tests for the presence of antibodies against the Ehrlichia canis in the dog’s blood.
- The test’s main disadvantages are that a dog that had tick fever in the past will be seropositive even if he did not have tick fever at the moment of testing as well as that a dog in early stages of the acute stage of the disease may be seronegative since he did not produce enough antibodies yet.
The main advantage of this test is that it is fast, it is available in the clinic and is relatively cheap. The PCR test tests for the presence of Ehrlichia canis’s DNA in the dog’s blood. The test’s main disadvantages are that it is more expensive than the serology test and the fact that the results are not immediate but take a few days to arrive.
The main advantage of this test is that a positive or negative result is definite. Treatment against tick fever is done with antibiotics combined with a drug call imidocarb. Usually treatment is several weeks long until blood tests (preferably PCR) show the bacteria is out of the system and the dog is healthy.
In some cases we may use steroids in order to deal with secondary immune reactions until the antibiotics start to work. It is important to note that the best and simplest way to deal with tick fever is prevention by tick repelling products in spot-on ampoules or collars.
What does tick fever look like in dogs?
Pet Owner Version Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a disease of humans and dogs that is caused by Rickettsia rickettsii, (Rickettsiae are a specialized type of bacteria that live only inside other cells.) The spotted-fever group of organisms is found worldwide, but the closely related organisms within this group that cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever are only found in certain geographic areas of North, South, and Central America.
- They are often transmitted through the bites of infected ticks.
- In the United States, the American dog tick and the Rocky Mountain wood tick are considered the most important transmission agents for Rickettsia rickettsii,
- The brown dog tick also transmits the disease in some parts of the country (including Arizona) and in other countries.
Direct transmission from dogs to humans has not been reported. Humans can become infected following contact with tick blood and lymph fluids or excretions during the removal of engorged ticks from their pets or themselves. Human infections usually involve the transfer of tick fluids through broken skin or through the eyes.
Dogs are highly susceptible to infection. Early signs may include fever (up to 105°F ), loss of appetite, enlargement of the lymph nodes, inflammation of several joints, coughing or difficulty in breathing, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, and swelling of the face or extremities. In severe cases, unraised, perfectly round, purplish red spots may be seen on the linings of the eyelids and mouth.
These spots are caused by bleeding below the surfaces of these tissues. Signs of nervous system involvement, such as altered mental states, impaired balance, and increased painful spinal sensitivity from a normally painless touch, may be seen. Between 1% and 10% of dogs with Rocky Mountain spotted fever die from the disease.
Blood tests that assess antibody levels are used to diagnose Rocky Mountain spotted fever. If a veterinarian suspects the disease, antibiotic treatment is usually started immediately without waiting for blood test results. Any delay in treatment may increase the chances of a severe or fatal infection.
Depending on the severity of infection, supportive care for dehydration and bleeding may be necessary. The most important preventive steps are those that control ticks, the most common source of the disease. Keeping your dog away from areas known to harbor ticks is a step you can take.
- Preventive medications that will keep your dog from being infested with ticks are also available from your veterinarian.
- Any ticks found on your dog should be promptly and properly removed to prevent the spread of disease.
- Remove any ticks by using fine-pointed tweezers to grasp the head of the tick (right where it enters the skin).
Pull the tick straight off, making sure not to grasp or squeeze its body. If there are multiple ticks, it may be best to have your veterinarian remove them and examine your dog. It is important to remember that contact with fluids and excretions from infected ticks can spread the disease to people. Copyright © 2023 Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, NJ, USA and its affiliates. All rights reserved.
Can dogs survive tick fever without treatment?
Tick Fever Treatment in Dogs – When it comes to tick fever any delay in treatment could lead to increasingly severe symptoms, and may even become fatal. That’s why your vet may prescribe a round of antibiotics even before test results confirming the diagnosis come back.
Can dogs get paralyzed due to tick fever?
An Overview Of Tick Paralysis – Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention Ticks attach to dogs and cats (and people), secreting a paralysing toxin as they feed. Left untreated, treatement almost always leads to respiratory or heart failure. This Paralysis is caused by a specific tick, lxodes holocyclus, which is found along Australia’s east coast and is especially prevalent around bushland like Sydney’s North Shore.
Can tick fever spread to humans?
Tickborne relapsing fever (TBRF) is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected soft ticks.
What happens if you don’t treat tick bite fever?
What is the outcome of tick bite fever? – African tick bite fever is usually mild, and death and serious complications are very uncommon. This is in contrast to Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which is usually a more severe illness. Complications include encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), pneumonia and damage to the brain and heart.
Do dogs need antibiotics after tick bite?
Not All Lyme-Infected Dogs Need Antibiotics – The standard treatment is a 30 day course of an antibiotic called doxycycline. Antibiotics for a tick bite are not recommended, but pets should be monitored after a tick bite. Antibiotics in pets that test positive for Lyme but do not have any signs of disease is controversial, as some dogs will never develop signs and most dogs will still test positive for Lyme disease for years after infection, whether or not they were treated.
What does tick fever look like?
Rash – Figure 1: Example of an early-stage rash in an RMSF patient.
While most (90%) people with RMSF have some type of rash during the course of illness, less than 50% of patients have a rash during the first 3 days of illness, when most people first seek medical care. For this reason, clinicians should consider RMSF if other signs and symptoms support a diagnosis, even if a rash is not present.
A classic case of RMSF involves a rash that appears 2-4 days after the onset of fever as small, flat, pink, macules on the wrists, forearms, and ankles and spreads to include the trunk and sometimes the palms of hands and soles of feet. Rash can be highly variable and people who fail to develop a rash, or develop an atypical rash, are at increased risk of being misdiagnosed.
The petechial rash of RMSF does not typically appear until day 5-6 of illness. NOTE: Petechiae are a sign of severe disease. Every attempt should be made to treat before petechiae develop.
What are the long term effects of tick fever?
Long-term Health Problems –
RMSF does not result in chronic or persistent infections. Some patients who recover from severe RMSF may be left with permanent damage, including amputation of arms, legs, fingers, or toes (from damage to blood vessels in these areas); hearing loss; paralysis; or mental disability. Any permanent damage is caused by the acute illness and does not result from a chronic infection.
How does dog act after tick bite?
Dogs may develop Lyme disease from the bite of a blacklegged tick, which may transmit bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi, Once ill, dogs can become feverish and lame in one or more joints. They also may exhibit sluggishness, and their lymph nodes may swell.
A more serious form of the disease that affects the kidneys often is fatal. The good news? The infection that can cause Lyme disease is preventable. Here are five things for pet owners to know about helping protect dogs from Lyme disease.1. Ticks carry the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterial agent that causes Lyme disease, is one of the most common infections transmitted by ticks, according to the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Following transmission from an infected blacklegged (or deer) tick, Borrelia burgdorferi travels to different parts of a dog’s body and can cause problems.2. It can take time for your dog to show signs Dogs with Lyme disease can experience an array of signs, including joint pain, swelling and fever.
- Dogs may not show signs of illness for weeks or months after an infected tick bites them – and many dogs that are infected never show signs of illness.
- Fortunately, some tests can determine if a dog has been infected, though it can take up to nine weeks for some tests to show positive results.
- Signs of Lyme disease depend on the progression of the initial infection.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), pet owners should watch for these signs:
Fever Swollen joints and limping Loss of appetite Lethargy and/or depression Kidney problems
3. Veterinarians can test your dog for Lyme disease Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose, and infection can be difficult to detect in dogs. The AVMA encourages pet owners to consult a veterinarian for testing, care and treatment of dogs that may have Lyme disease.
- A veterinarian may perform blood tests to detect the presence of antibodies to the bacterial agent of Lyme disease ( Borrelia burgdorferi ).
- He or she may conduct additional tests to help diagnose infection and determine whether the infection has affected a dog’s kidneys.4.
- Lyme disease is a year-round risk, depending on where you live Contrary to popular belief, the risk of acquiring the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease is not only a “summer time” or “warmer weather” threat.
The potential for infection exists in almost any month, provided the ingredients of weather, temperature and infected ticks are present.It can be a year-round issue, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council. The council encourages pet owners to protect dogs all year long.
- Check out this map from the Companion Animal Parasite Council.
- It shows the number of dogs that have tested positive for the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease at the county, state and national level.5.
- Prevention is the best way to protect dogs Prevention is the best way to keep your dog safe from acquiring Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent that can cause Lyme disease.
Pet owners should perform regular preventive checks by looking through their dog’s fur. If you find a tick, remove it right away, by following these steps from the CDC. Pet owners should talk with their veterinarian to discuss tick control, the potential benefit of Lyme vaccination, and other steps that can help protect dogs from Lyme disease.
Visit www.nexgardfordogs.com to learn about NexGard® (afoxolaner), veterinarians’ #1 choice for flea and tick control in dogs. It is FDA-approved to prevent the infection that can cause Lyme disease, by killing infected ticks before the infection can be transmitted. IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: NexGard® (afoxolaner) is for use in dogs only.
The most frequently reported adverse reactions include vomiting, itching, lethargy, diarrhea, and lack of appetite. The safe use of NexGard in pregnant, breeding, or lactating dogs has not been evaluated. Use with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders.
Why does a tick fever relapse in dogs?
Tick‐Borne Relapsing Fever in Dogs J Vet Intern Med.2016 Jul-Aug; 30(4): 1222–1228. Published online 2016 Jun 28. doi: PMCID: PMC5094544 1 Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX Find articles by 2 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX Find articles by 3 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX Find articles by 3 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX Find articles by 3 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX Find articles by 2 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX Find articles by Received 2015 Apr 7; Revised 2016 Feb 25; Accepted 2016 May 18.
© 2016 The Authors. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, This is an open access article under the terms of the License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
In the United States, Tick‐Borne Relapsing Fever (TBRF) in dogs is caused by the spirochete bacteria Borrelia turicatae and Borrelia hermsii, transmitted by Ornithodoros spp, ticks. The hallmark diagnostic feature of this infection is the visualization of numerous spirochetes during standard blood smear examination.
- Although the course of spirochetemia has not been fully characterized in dogs, in humans infected with TBRF the episodes of spirochetemia and fever are intermittent.
- To describe TBRF in dogs by providing additional case reports and reviewing the disease in veterinary and human medicine.
- Five cases of privately‐owned dogs naturally infected with TBRF in Texas are reviewed.
Case series and literature review. All dogs were examined because of lethargy, inappetence, and pyrexia. Two dogs also had signs of neurologic disease. All dogs had thrombocytopenia and spirochetemia. All cases were administered tetracyclines orally. Platelet numbers improved and spirochetemia and pyrexia resolved in 4 out of 5 dogs, where follow‐up information was available.
- TBRF is likely underdiagnosed in veterinary medicine.
- In areas endemic to Ornithodoros spp.
- Ticks, TBRF should be considered in dogs with thrombocytopenia.
- Examination of standard blood smears can provide a rapid and specific diagnosis of TBRF when spirochetes are observed.
- Eywords: Bacteremia, Borrelia, Spirochete, Spirochetemia, Thrombocytopenia CBC complete blood count IFA immunofluorescence assay RI reference intervals TBRF tick‐borne relapsing fever Tick‐Borne Relapsing Fever (TBRF) is caused by several bacteria in the genus Borrelia, excluding the causative agent of Lyme disease ( Borrelia burgdorferi ).
TBRF is spread by feeding of Ornithodoros spp. ticks, which often goes unnoticed and which can transmit the Borrelia bacteria in seconds. Clinical findings include pyrexia and possible lethargy, anorexia, and signs of neurologic disease. The hallmark feature of this infection is the visualization of numerous spirochetes (spirochetemia) during standard blood smear examination.
While CBC data can vary between dogs, all cases of TBRF are associated with severe thrombocytopenia. TBRF is likely underdiagnosed in veterinary medicine and could be an important consideration for dogs with thrombocytopenia in several areas of the United States. A 7‐year‐old female spayed Dachshund weighing 4.9 kg (10.8 lb) was referred to the Texas A&M University Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (TAMU VMTH) because of an increased rectal temperature, lethargy, and abnormal posture (tail tucking) for approximately 3 days.
Examination revealed, mild mydriasis, prolonged pupillary light reflexes, exaggerated bilateral menace responses, and pyrexia (40.3°C ). The remainder of the physical exam revealed no abnormalities, including no evidence or clinical history of external parasites.
Plasma biochemistry revealed mild hypoalbuminemia (2.2 g/dL; RI: 2.4–3.6 g/dL). Abnormalities were not detected on routine urinalysis. Complete blood count revealed only a marked thrombocytopenia (47,000/μL; RI: 200,000–500,000/μL). However, blood smear examination revealed numerous spirochete bacteria (Fig.).
Antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi, Ehrlichia canis, and Anaplasma spp,, and Dirofilaria immitis antigen were not detected using an in‐house enzyme‐linked immunosorbent assay. Leptospira DNA was not detected in urine by PCR. Blood samples were sent to Rocky Mountain Laboratories for IFA, amplification within mice, culture, and PCR for Borrelia spp.
Rocky Mountain Laboratories performed PCR using primers that target 16SrRNA, flaB, gyrB, and glpQ genes. Conventional PCR for the detection of Relapsing Fever Borrelia spp. was performed at Texas A&M University in an author’s (MDEG) research laboratory using primers targeting the flagellin gene ( flaB ), 16SrRNA, and glpQ genes.,, The PCR assays targeting flagellin ( flaB ) and 16SrRNA genes are highly sensitive, whereas the PCR targeting glpQ specifically amplifies only relapsing fever species.,,,, DNA was extracted from the buffy coat according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
The DNA extraction and PCR amplification were carried out in separate laboratories and all PCR reactions were set up in a PCR cabinet. In addition, a reagent negative control and a positive control containing Borrelia burgdorferi B31 MSK5 DNA were included in each reaction.
At the time, a TBRF positive control was not available and sequencing was to be performed. PCR amplification was visualized by electrophoresis using 0.8% agarose gels and imaged using a ChemiDoc Touch. ™ Amplification bands were cleaned and submitted for sequencing using both forward and reverse primers.
Chromatographs obtained through Eton Biosciences were evaluated with the MacVector ® Assembler and a consensus sequence was generated for use in alignments, phylogenetic trees, and for construction of the identity matrix. Utilizing the monoclonal antibody H9724 against the flagellin protein present in all species of Borrelia, IFA revealed the spirochetes were from the genus Borrelia (T.
- Schwan, personal communication).
- Analysis of sequences obtained from the PCR reactions performed at both laboratories confirmed that the infecting species was Borrelia turicatae,
- The 16SrRNA sequence obtained from the TAMU laboratory was published in GenBank ® (accession number ).
- The 490 bp fragment amplified corresponds with coordinates 445073 to 445562 on the Borrelia turicatae chromosome.
This fragment is 100%, 99.8%, 97.6% identical to B. turicatae (), B. parkeri (NR121776) and B. hermsii (), respectively. In contrast, the amplified sequence was 34.6% identical to B. burgdorferi sensu stricto strain B31 (NC001318). All analysis were done in MacVectror ® Assembler 14.0 (Fig.
- A). Borrelia turicatae strains detected in cases 1 ( KP 861623) ( A ) and 2 ( KP 861624) ( B ).
- The phylogenetic trees were generated utilizing the Neighbor joint method of aligned 16Sr RNA sequences obtained from infected dogs, and representative species of the Relapsing Fever Borrelia group: B.
- Burgdorferi ( NC 001314), B.
coriaceae (), B. crocidurae ( KF 176335), B. duttonii ( CP 000976), B. hermsii (), B. parkeri ( NR 121776), B. turicatae (), B. lonestari ( AY 166715) and B. recurrentis ( AF 107361). The phylogenetic tree was generated using MacVector ® Assembler 14.0 (MacVector Inc.).
- The dog was treated with intravenous crystalloid fluids (normosol‐R) and doxycycline (6 mg/kg PO, q12h).
- Twenty‐four hours after treatment was initiated, the dog was afebrile and no spirochetes were observed on blood smear examination.
- Administration of crystalloid fluids was discontinued, and the dog was discharged with instructions for a 28 day course of doxycycline and re‐examination with the referring veterinarian in 4 weeks.
A 14‐year‐old female spayed Siberian Husky weighing 24.3 kg (53.5 lb) was examined at a private veterinary hospital in Waco, Texas for 3–4 days of inappetence and abnormal ambulation, characterized by ataxia and weakness. The dog was febrile (39.7°C ) and dehydrated at initial presentation.
The dog had no recent clinical history of external parasites. In‐house CBC data revealed lymphopenia (700/μL; RI: 1,000–4,800/μL) and severe thrombocytopenia (none detected /μL; RI: 200,000–500,000/μL), which was confirmed by blood smear examination. In addition, numerous spirochetes were observed throughout the smear.
Serum biochemistry revealed mild increase in alkaline phosphatase activity (500 U/L (RI: 20–150 U/L). This abnormality had been repeatedly observed over 4 years prior to presentation. Spirochetemia, marked thrombocytopenia (60,000/μL; RI: 200,000–500,000/μL) and mild lymphopenia (630/μL; RI: 1,000–4,800/μL) were confirmed at a diagnostic laboratory.
- Initial diagnoses based on blood smear examination included nonpathogenic spirochetes and Borrelia burgdorferi,
- Indirect fluorescent antibody serology was positive for RMSF (sample screened at ≥1 : 16), but negative for Ehrlichia canis (CDC/V241 strain ) and Lyme borreliosis (B31 strain ).
- Borrelia spp.
conventional PCR was later performed at the diagnostic laboratory using standard methods and following certified veterinary diagnostic laboratory approved standard operational procedures for molecular diagnostics. A negative reagent control was used; however, positive controls were unavailable.
- Direct, forward and reverse sequencing of the 16SrRNA product identified the spirochetes as Borrelia turicatae (GenBank ® accession number ).
- The 716 bp fragment amplified corresponds with coordinates 445350 to 446065 on the Borrelia turicatae chromosome.
- This fragment was 99.9% identical to B.
- Turicatae () and B.
parkeri (NR121776), and 97.3% identical to B. hermsii (). In contrast, the amplified sequence was 31% identical to B. burgdorferi sensu stricto strain B31 (NC001318). All analysis were done in MacVector ® Assembler 14.0, These results were consistent with the dog being infected with the RF Borrelia, B.
- Turicatae (Fig. B).
- The dog was treated with doxycycline (4 mg/kg ) and amoxicillin (11 mg/kg ) orally twice daily for 28 and 14 days, respectively.
- A repeat CBC with blood smear examination 10 days later revealed mild thrombocytosis (592,000/μL; RI: 200,000–500,000/μL) and no visible spirochetes.
- The dog recovered uneventfully; however, hind limb weakness and pain persisted months after initial treatment.
The dog was euthanized 6 months after initial presentation for cognitive dysfunction and continued lumbosacral pain. A postmortem examination was not performed. A 10‐year‐old, spayed female mixed breed dog weighing 30 kg (66.4 lb) was examined at a private veterinary hospital in Smithville, Texas for a 1‐week history of inappetence, lethargy and polydipsia.
- The dog was moderately febrile (40.2°C ).
- No external parasites were found on physical exam and no history of parasites was noted.
- In‐house CBC data revealed a neutrophilia (23,200/μL; RI: 3,300–12,000/μL) and marked thrombocytopenia (44,000/μL; RI: 175,000–500,000/μL).
- In‐house chemistry findings identified no relevant abnormalities.
The dog was referred to the TAMU VMTH for further evaluation. On presentation to TAMU VMTH the dog was lethargic, mildly dehydrated, and reluctant to rise and walk, with mild right stifle effusion present. There was a moderate leukocytosis present because of a neutrophilia with evidence of toxic change (25,852/μL; RI; 3,000–11,500/μL).
The dog was thrombocytopenic (45,000/μL; RI: 200,000–500,000/μL) and numerous extracellular spirochete bacteria were observed on blood smear examination. Abnormalities were not detected on a plasma chemistry panel. Antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi, Ehrlichia canis, and Anaplasma spp,, and Dirofilaria immitis antigen were not detected using an in‐house enzyme‐linked immunosorbent assay.
Doxycycline antibiotic treatment was initiated (5 mg/kg PO, q12h). The next day the dog’s temperature was 102.3°F (39.1°C), her attitude was mildly improved, and she was more willing to stand and walk. There was neutrophilia (21,344/μL; RI: 3000–11,500/μL) and thrombocytopenia (46,000/μL; RI: 200,000–500,000/μL).
- No spirochete bacteria were identified on blood smear examination.
- A 21‐day course of doxycycline (5 mg/kg PO, q12h) was prescribed.
- An in‐house CBC at the original private veterinary hospital was performed thirteen days after discharge, revealing no abnormalities.
- The dog was reported to be back to pre‐illness mobility, activity level, and appetite.
PCR for Borrelia spp. was performed on the original sample at Texas A&M in an author’s (MDEG) research laboratory. PCR was performed using the same conditions as those mentioned above (case one) except that case one’s PCR product was used as a positive control for this case.
A negative reagent control was utilized and no evidence of contamination was observed. All PCR reactions gave amplicons consistent with the Borrelia turicatae controls. Given the positive PCR results, clinical signs, and presence of spirochetemia, sequencing was not performed. An 11‐year‐old, intact male, Brittany Spaniel Mix weighing 26.6 kg (58.6 lb) was presented to a private veterinary hospital in Waco, Texas with a 2‐week history of inappetence and lethargy.
The dog was mildly febrile (39.6°C ) and had mild nasal discharge, which was chronic according to the owner. No external parasites were noted on physical exam or in the dog’s history. There was a marked neutrophilia (50,950/μL; RI: 3,000–12,000/μL) and thrombocytopenia (5,000/μL; RI: 200,000–500,000/μL), which was confirmed by blood smear examination.
In addition, numerous spirochetes were observed throughout the blood smear. In‐house chemistry findings included a moderate increase in ALKP activity (700 U/L; RI: 20–150 U/L), and moderate to marked hypoalbuminemia (1.6 g/dL; RI: 2.5–4.4 g/dL). PCR and sequencing were not performed in this case because the veterinarian was familiar with the diagnosis of Tick‐Borne Relapsing Fever from a previous case (case 2).
Indirect fluorescent antibody serology was positive for R. rickettsii (sample screened at ≥1 : 16), and Lyme borreliosis (B31 strain, sample screened at ≥1 : 60). The dog was administered minocycline (3.5 mg/kg PO, q12h) for 28 days, and carprofen (2 mg/kg PO, q24 h) for fever and inflammation.
The dog recovered uneventfully; however, died 8 months later secondary to a hemoabdomen from a presumed liver mass. The decreased albumin and increase in ALKP activity were attributed to liver disease and hemorrhage; however, vector‐borne disease might have contributed to these abnormalities. A 10‐year‐old, female spayed, mixed breed dog weighing 29.1 kg (64.1 lb) was examined at a private veterinary hospital in Horseshoe Bay, Texas for a 3‐day history of inappetence and lethargy.
The dog was moderately febrile (40.3°C ) and had formed but mildly mucoid feces. No external parasites were noted on physical exam or in the dog’s history. There was lymphopenia (430/μL; RI: 1,000–4,800/μL) and platelets were not detectable. Only low numbers of platelets were seen on blood smear examination.
- In addition, numerous spirochetes were observed throughout the smear.
- All analytes on an in‐house chemistry analyzer were within reference intervals.
- Visible spirochetemia and thrombocytopenia (17,200/μL; RI: 200,000–500,000/μL) were confirmed on standard blood smear examination at a diagnostic laboratory.
In addition, indirect fluorescent antibody serological testing for Ehrlichia canis (CDC/V241 strain, sample screened at ≥1 : 20), R. rickettsii (sample screened at ≥1 : 16), and Lyme borreliosis (B31 strain, sample screened at ≥1 : 60), was performed, with positive IFA results for each disease.
- PCR sequencing was not performed.
- The dog was administered doxycycline (7.5 mg/kg PO, q12h) for 6 weeks.
- The dog recovered uneventfully.
- Six weeks after initial diagnosis, CBC data revealed no abnormalities.
- The phylum Spirochaetes contains both pathologic and nonpathologic, gram‐negative bacteria characterized by a coiled or spiral appearance.
Spirochetes are responsible for several important veterinary diseases, including, but not limited to, leptospirosis, Brachyspira spp. infections, and Lyme disease. While diseases caused by spirochetes are routinely suspected by veterinarians, visible spirochetemia has rarely been described.
When molecular diagnostics are pursued, only tick‐borne relapsing fever (TBRF) organisms have been found to cause spirochetemia detectable on standard blood smear examination. Original case reports, before advanced molecular diagnostics were available, mistakenly identified the spirochetes as Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, the causative agent of Lyme disease., Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto does not cause spirochetemia that is detectable on standard blood smear examinations.
TBRF is associated with infection by a limited number of Borrelia spp., excluding Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, and B. recurrentis, which causes Relapsing Fever and is transmitted by lice. In the United States, human cases of TBRF are mainly caused by three Borrelia species, including Borrelia hermsii, Borrelia turicatae, and Borrelia parkerii,
- The Borrelia organisms of TBRF are transmitted by the bite of Ornithodoros species of soft ticks, which are located throughout the mid and southern United States.
- Soft ticks feed for short duration (minutes) and are nocturnal, thus limiting the detection of these parasites.
- In addition, some Ornithodoros species contain Borrelia organisms throughout multiple tissues concurrently (including the mid gut and salivary gland) which shortens organism transmission time during tick feeding.
Transmission of TBRF Borrelia spp. can occur in as little as 15 seconds. This is in sharp contrast with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto which has to migrate from the mid gut to the salivary gland of its tick vector, Ixodes scapularis, to the host during feeding, requiring up to 18–24 hours for transmission., In contrast with other tick‐borne diseases, many animals can serve as reservoir and end hosts in TBRF.
- TBRF is likely under recognized and underreported, limiting epidemiologic information.
- In the Northwest United States, Borrelia hermsii, spread by Ornithodoros hermsii ticks endemic to the area, is the most reported species of TBRF causing clinical cases in humans.
- In this area of the United States, infection has been most commonly associated with cabins.
Rodents are the main reservoir hosts of O. hermsii ticks in this area. In Texas, human cases of disease are caused by injection with Borrelia turicatae spread by Ornithodoros turicatae ticks in central Texas. It is thought that TBRF exposure in Texas occurs mostly in caves and that many animals serve as hosts to O.
- Turicatae ticks.
- It is unclear if exposure to cabins and caves are the main sources of infections in animals because of the limited number of veterinary case reports.
- Thus far, the epidemiologic distribution of TBRF species in veterinary cases appears to be similar to that seen in human medicine.
- However, regions not previously thought to harbor these organisms, such as Florida, are being discovered through veterinary cases., In human cases of TBRF, the spirochetemia and concurrent episodes of fever are cyclic, with clinical signs lasting a few days and approximately 1 week elapsing between episodes.
Through the use of animal models, it has been suggested that antigenic variation allows spirochetes to evade the immune system. For example, in mice, antigenic variation of the Vmps (variable major proteins) on the outer surface of the spirochete allows increased time in circulation, thus perpetuating clinical signs and tick acquisition rates.
In humans, TBRF is an acute disease, which can be effectively treated with antibiotics and supportive care; however, instances of reactivated infections have been reported in research animals and could be a concern in human and veterinary medicine. The earliest confirmed cases of TBRF in veterinary species were reported in the 1990’s, with the first suspected cases seen decades earlier., Reported cases of natural TBRF in animals in the last twenty years include rare case reports in dogs in Texas, Florida and Washington, a bat in the United Kingdom, and an aborted horse fetus from California.,,,, Detectable spirochetemia on blood smear examination was only reported in dogs.
It was unclear if blood smears were reviewed in the other cases. Borrelia turicatae was the predominant cause of TBRF in dogs, the same species identified in the dogs of this report where molecular diagnostics were performed (cases 1–3). The majority of dogs were from Texas, where Borrelia turicatae is the most common species to infect people.
Recently, a dog from Washington was infected with Borrelia hermsii, Clinical signs shared by the majority of dogs included: fever, ambulation or postural defects (arched back, lameness), anorexia/weight loss, and ocular lesions (uveitis, photophobia, corneal edema).,, The cases described in this report provide further information on the clinical presentation and laboratory findings of dogs infected with TBRF.
All cases presented between May to August with vague clinical signs, such as lethargy, inappetance or both. The majority of dogs diagnosed with TBRF do not have a recognized history of tick exposure. This is not surprising given the nocturnal nature of the Ornithodoros ticks, and the rapid transmission of TBRF Borrelia spp., as described above.
- All dogs had elevated temperatures, ranging from 103.2–104.6°F.
- Two cases presented with signs of neurologic disease including ataxia, tail tucking, and cranial nerve deficits.
- One dog also was reluctant to walk and had joint effusion, which resolved after treatment.
- TBRF Borrelia spp.
- Have been shown to migrate to the nervous system in humans and mice, causing encephalitis, meningitis and neuritis, which likely explains the signs of neurologic disease in these dogs.
Together, these signs suggests a common, although nonspecific, clinical presentation of TBRF in dogs. When the current and previously reported cases of TBRF in dogs are compared, there are several similarities and differences in hematology findings. All dogs were diagnosed during spirochetemic phases, therefore numerous spirochetes were observed on standard blood smear examination (Fig.).
- All dogs also had marked thrombocytopenia, when platelet counts were available.,, Additional CBC findings varied between dogs but included mild stress leukograms, inflammatory changes, and mild non‐regenerative anemia.
- Several dogs displayed minimal CBC abnormalities other than marked thrombocytopenia and spirochetemia.
While other hematologic abnormalities (i.e. inflammatory leukogram) might be expected given the bacteremia, they are not always observed, and thrombocytopenia appears to be the only consistent CBC finding in dogs with apparent spirochetemia. Cases of TBRF have only been characterized in animals with detectable spirochetemia and it is unknown if thrombocytopenia or clinical signs are present in animals during nonspirochetemic phases of TBRF.
Causes of thrombocytopenia in tick‐borne diseases are often thought to be numerous and multifactorial. There have been several studies evaluating the interactions between TBRF Borrelia organisms and platelets in human medicine. In people infected with TBRF, it has been shown that Borrelia hermsii binds α IIb β 3 receptors on platelets, causing activation and accelerated removal of platelets.
In mice infected with TBRF spirochetes, spirochetes form complexes with platelets in the blood. This allows indirect clearance of platelets while spirochetes are removed from circulation. In contrast with humans, there was no evidence of platelet activation in mice.
- To the author’s knowledge, similar studies have not yet been performed in dogs, but it possible that similar mechanisms could play a role in the development of thrombocytopenia.
- Clinical signs and hematologic findings with TBRF can be similar to those of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, which can lead to clinical misdiagnosis of Lyme disease.
This is particularly possible given that Lyme disease is considered a summer illness and the cases in this report presented between May and August. Two previous case reports and two cases presented here were positive by serologic testing for B. burgdorferi sensu stricto.
- TBRF Borrelia spp.
- Have been shown to cross‐react with Lyme disease Borrelia spp. with IFA.
- However, cross‐reactivity is not necessarily consistent between cases and testing modalities.
- In humans, GlpQ and BipA antigens can be used as specific antigens for TBRF serology testing, as they are not present in Lyme Borrelia spp., Serologic tests utilizing these antigens have been used to discriminate between the causative agents of Lyme disease and TBRF in humans.
To the author’s knowledge, these tests have not yet been validated in veterinary animals; however, further research in this area would be warranted. Three of the five cases presented here were seropositive to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), caused by an intracellular gram negative coccobacillus ( Rickettsia rickettsii ).
- It is unclear if this represents a co‐infection, previous exposure, exposure to nonpathogenic species, or an unidentified cross‐reaction from the confirmed Borrelia infection.
- To limit misdiagnosis and to aid in classification of Borrelia ‐induced diseases, advanced diagnostics might be indicated in animals suspected of having Lyme disease or TBRF.
Confirmatory testing methods include western blot, culture, and PCR. Culture from human patients requires large volumes of whole blood and is often unrewarding. Culture in animals has only been successfully completed via inoculation of mice to amplify the spirochetes, followed by DNA sequence analysis.
In human medicine, molecular diagnostics are not consistently performed when spirochetes are visualized on peripheral blood smears. It is the authors’ recommendation that, as in humans, advanced diagnostic techniques are not necessary in dogs with visible spirochetemia. However, a lack of spirochetemia does not rule out TBRF.
In areas endemic to TBRF, dogs with clinical signs of vector‐borne disease would benefit from molecular diagnostics for TBRF, especially during nonspirochetemic phases. Commercially available vector‐borne disease PCR tests do not typically target Borrelia species because Lyme Borrelia is not found in the blood at the time of clinical symptoms or signs.
- Therefore, the development of a novel, commercially available PCR technique that includes TBRF Borrelia detection will positively impact canine health.
- Since TBRF is infrequently diagnosed in veterinary medicine, standardized treatment protocols are lacking.
- Published reports have been treated successfully with varying protocols of tetracycline administration.,,, In the current cases, all dogs were administered tetracyclines PO twice daily for 3–6 weeks.
Case 4 was treated with minocycline at 3.5 mg/kg (1.6 mg/lb) every 12 hours for 28 days. The remaining cases were treated with doxycycline ranging from 4 to 7.5 mg/kg (1.8–3.4 mg/lb) PO, every 12 hours for 21–42 days (individual dosing is listed with each case).
- When follow‐up data were available, CBC revealed no abnormalities or only mild (presumed rebound) thrombocytosis.
- With treatment, detectable spirochetemia and fever resolved in as early as 24 hours.
- Approximately 50% of human patients with TBRF develop a Jarisch‐Herxheimer reaction, or worsening of clinical signs, with initial treatment.
This has not yet been observed in veterinary species, but dogs with high bacterial burdens should be monitored with initial treatment. The majority of dogs in this report recovered uneventfully; however, one dog was euthanized 6 months later for continued signs of neurologic disease.
It is unclear if this was related to the spirochete infection. There are several limitations of this case series. As a retrospective study, there is a lack of continuity between the clinical workup in each case. Additional tick‐borne disease testing was not performed in all cases; therefore, concurrent vector‐borne diseases cannot be entirely ruled out.
When additional testing was pursued, coinfection or previous exposure to Ehrlichia and Rickettsia species were documented using serologic testing. Two dogs were also seropositive to Borrelia burgdorferi, However, cross‐reactivity between TBRF and other Borrelia species has been described.
Further studies are indicated to characterize the cross‐reactivity between serology tests for TBRF Borrelia organisms and Borrelia burgdorferi, The possibility of coinfection should always be considered in dogs with clinical signs of vector‐borne disease. Molecular diagnostics were utilized in three of the cases included in this report to confirm non‐Lyme Borrelia spp.
(case 1, 2 and 3). Sequencing to confirm Borrelia turicatae was performed in two cases (case 1 and 2). A limitation of this study is that the spirochetes found in circulation in cases 4 and 5 were not confirmed using molecular diagnostics. In this manuscript, we present additional cases of Tick‐Borne Relapsing Fever with an overview of the disease.
Dogs infected with TBRF Borrelia spp. share similar clinical signs and clinicopathologic data; however, some variation between infected dogs does occur. It is possible for animals with large numbers of circulating spirochetes to have minimal changes in CBC values. The limited abnormalities on CBC instrumentation reports might not prompt visual examination of a blood smear in a busy private practice setting.
The presented cases emphasize the importance of performing blood smears in unhealthy dogs or those with any hematological abnormalities, including thrombocytopenia. Careful examination of a blood smear can allow for a rapid presumptive diagnosis of TBRF.
Further research, development, and utilization of PCR for the detection of TBRF is warranted to aid in the detection of this disease during nonspirochetemic phases. With appropriate treatment, TBRF appears to be treatable. However, more studies are needed to determine the long‐term outcomes for dogs. Dr.
Tom G. Schwan from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Laboratory of Zoonotic Pathogens at Rocky Mountain Laboratories for performing molecular diagnostics on select cases. Dr. Jered Johnston with South Bosque Veterinary Clinic and Drs.
Craig Garrett and Frances Scott Bowling with Horseshoe Bay Veterinary Clinic for providing valuable clinical history, case information and glass slides from blood smear examinations. TVMDL, Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory for performing molecular diagnostics on select cases and providing case information for this paper.
Abha Grover for her help with PCR, sequencing, and generation of phylogenetic trees, and AgriLife grant TEXV 6579 (Project I‐9524). Conflict of Interest Declaration : Authors declare no conflict of interest. Off‐label Antimicrobial Declaration : Although there is no FDA‐approved treatment for tick‐borne relapsing fever in dogs, tetracyclines are considered to be safe and effective in the treatment of several tick‐borne diseases and are commonly used in veterinary medicine.
1 4DX SNAP TM test, IDEXX Laboratories, Westbrook, ME 2 Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, College Station, TX 3 Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH, Hamilton, MT 4 Roche Diagnostics, Indianapolis, IN 5 CBS Scientific, Del Mar, CA 6 Bio‐Rad, Inc., Hercules, CA 7 Eton Biosciences 8 MacVector, Inc, Cary, NCoxycycline, Westward, Eatontown, NJ 9 Veterinary Medical Research and Development. Pullman, WA 10 Amoxicillin, Pfizer, New York City, NY 11 Minocycline: Ranbaxy. Princeton, NJ 12 Rimadyl: Pfizer. New York City, NY
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Do dogs vomit in tick fever?
Canine Tick-Borne Disease 02/27/2012 Thousands of dogs are infected annually with dangerous tick-transmitted diseases. Ticks are parasites that attach themselves to dogs, feed on blood and transmit diseases directly into the dog’s system. Major tick-borne diseases transmitted to dogs in the United States include: • Lyme disease, which comes from the deer tick, can cause stiffness, lameness, swollen joints, loss of appetite, fever and fatigue.
Your dog may not show signs of the disease until several months after infected. • Canine Ehrlichiosis, found worldwide, is the most common and one of the most dangerous tick-borne disease organisms known to infect dogs. Caused by the brown dog tick, symptoms may not surface for months after transmission, and can include fever, loss of appetite, depression, weight loss, runny eyes and nose, nose bleeds and swollen limbs.
• Canine Anaplasmosis, also called dog fever or dog tick fever, is transmitted from the deer tick. Symptoms are similar to other tick diseases including fever, loss of appetite, stiff joints and lethargy, but also can include vomiting, diarrhea. In extreme cases, dogs may suffer seizures.
• Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever comes from the American dog tick, the wood tick and the lone star tick. Symptoms include fever, stiffness, neurological problems and skin lesions. Typically the illness lasts about two weeks, but serious cases could result in death. • Canine Babesiosis is typically transmitted by the American dog tick and the brown dog tick.
Causing anemia, symptoms may also include pale gums, weakness and vomiting. • Canine Bartonellosis comes from the brown dog tick. Symptoms are intermittent lameness and fever. Left untreated, this disease can result in heart or liver disease. • Canine Hepatozoonosis is thought to be transmitted by the brown dog tick and Gulf Coast ticks.
How long is treatment for tick fever?
Treatment Duration –
When treated with doxycycline, fever generally subsides within 24–48 hours. Severely ill patients may require longer periods of treatment before fever will resolve, especially if they have experienced damage to organ systems. Resistance to doxycycline or relapses in symptoms after the completion of the recommended course has not been documented.
Recommended Treatment and Dosage for RMSF Doxycycline is the first-line treatment for adults and children of all ages:
Adults: 100 mg every 12 hours Children under 45 kg (100 lbs): 2.2 mg/kg body weight given twice a day
Patients with suspected RMSF should be treated with doxycycline for at least 3 days after the fever subsides and there is evidence of clinical improvement. Minimum course of treatment is 5-7 days.
Do dogs eat in tick fever?
Symptoms of Tick Fever in Dogs – Once your dog is infected by the bacteria it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to begin to show. The symptoms of tick fever in dogs are somewhat vague and extremely varied in nature making a diagnosis of tick fever challenging in some cases. Some of the most common symptoms of tick fever in dogs include:
Fever up to 105°F (40.5°C) Loss of appetite Enlarged lymph nodes
Inflammation of joints Vomiting and diarrhea Facial or limb swelling
Coughing Breathing difficulties Abdominal pain
In more severe cases dogs may exhibit round, purplish-red spots inside of the eyelids and mouth caused by bleeding below the surface. About 30% of dogs will experience central nervous system symptoms such as:
Painful spinal sensitivity
Why is my dog still getting ticks after treatment?
What kind of products are available? – There are many different options for products. The monthly cost per dose will vary by product and may also be a factor to consider when choosing which product works best to match your budget. Collars such as Seresto will repel fleas and ticks, and even prevent ticks from attaching, but they must be applied tightly enough to have skin contact.
Many topical options containing permethrin (e.g. K9 Advantix II, Vectra 3D) will repel and prevent tick attachment. Topical products with fipronil (e.g. Frontline) do not repel or prevent tick attachment, which means you may still see ticks crawling on your pet. It will not kill ticks until after attachment for 24 hours.
Oral preventatives containing isoxazoline (e.g. Nexgard, Simparica, Credelio, Bravecto) also do not prevent tick attachment, but they have a relatively fast tick kill time. The tick kill time is important to note because of the diseases that can be spread if a tick remains attached and alive too long.
|Product||Frequency||Prescription||Chewable||Topical||Collar||Prevents tick attachment|
|K9 Advantix II||1 month||X||X|
|Vectra 3D||1 month||X||X|
|Simparica, Nexgard, Credelio||1 month||X||X|
Can a tick make a dog feel sick?
Ticks on dogs can cause lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and babesiosis. Symptoms include lameness, fever and lethargy.
What medicine is good for dogs with fever?
Prescription medication for fevers in dogs – Your veterinarian might prescribe a corticosteroid such as prednisone if she thinks your dog has an immune-mediated fever.2 It’s likely that your veterinarian will prescribe IV fluids to make sure your dog stays hydrated.
What is used to treat tick fever?
Doxycycline is the treatment of choice for RMSF, and all other tickborne rickettsial diseases. Use of antibiotics other than doxycycline is associated with a higher risk of fatal outcome from RMSF. Presumptive treatment with doxycycline is recommended in patients of all ages, including children <8 years of age. Doxycycline is most effective at preventing severe complications from developing if started within the first 5 days of illness.
What can I put on my dogs infected tick bite?
Disinfecting the area – Keep in mind that any contact with the tick’s blood can potentially transmit an infection to your dog or even you. Treat the area with three-percent hydrogen peroxide, the common disinfectant. It is recommended for tick bites because the oxygen it contains destroys the Lyme disease bacteria.