Ehrlichia canis


Ehrlichiosis is a tick-borne disease caused by parasites of the genus Ehrlichia which infect white blood cells.  Dogs may be infected by several Ehrlichia spp. but the most common one causing canine ehrlichiosis is E. canis which infects monocytes and has a world wide distribution in many tropical and sub-tropical areas including southern Europe and the Mediterranean.  Ehrlichiosis is not known to be zoonotic and the severity of the disease will depend on the immune status of the dog in addition to its age and breed and any concurrent infections (e.g. babesiosis).  There are three main stages of canine monocytic erhlichiosis - acute, sub-clinical and chronic.  Dogs usually recover spontaneously from the acute phase characterised by fever, lymphadenopathy and muscle stiffness and enter the sub-clinical phase. In immunocompetent dogs, the parasite will be eliminated during this phase or alternatively the dog will develop a chronic infection with hypoplastic bone marrow, severe weight loss, haemorrhages, lymphocytic/plasmocytic infiltration of various organs.  Prevention is by tick control.


Antibody Test  

This test detects specific IgG antibodies to E. canis. The result will be reported as negative or the dilution at which it is positive.

Sample        0.5ml serum / whole (EDTA) or clotted blood.  

Parasite Detection

Demonstration of parasites in white blood cells from smears or tissue aspirates distinguish between dogs which have developed persistent erlichiosis following treatment and those which have been successfully treated but which retain a high antibody status.

Sample        0.5 ml of serum/ whole (EDTA) or clotted blood or fresh (un-fixed) smears.


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