Ehrlichiosis is a tick born disease that dogs can get from the brown dog tick – which passes an ehrlichia organism into the bloodstream when it bites – it  can be caused by several different organisms – in most cases, the dogs has been infected by Ehrlichia Canis –

Some studies indicate that German Shepherd dogs might be specially prone to Ehrlichiosis  – the prognosis is good if it received proper Vetterinary care in time.

Ehrlichiosis stages in dogs

There are three stages of Ehrlichiosis – The first stage is know as the acute stage – the second stage is the sub clinical stage – and the third stage is the chronic phase  –

During the sub clinical phase – the dog will normally display no signs of illness – some dogs stay in the sub clinical stage for the rest of their lives – they are infected with the parasite but they show no signs of it – Other dogs manage to kill off all the parasites during the sub clinical phase.  If the disease progresses into the third, chronic stage, the situation becomes very serious for the dog since chronic Ehrlichiosis can be deadly.

Ehrlichiosis symptoms in dogs

The acute stage of ehrlichiosis is common during the warmer season,  since this is when ticks are active and suck blood from dogs.  The symptoms of acute ehrlichiosis normally appear 1 – 3 weeks after the bite and last for 2 – 4 weeks.  The acute stage can however occur several weeks after infection.  An infected dog can suffer from discharge from the nose and eyes, edema of the legs and scrotum, bleeding disorders, vasculitis, lymphadenopathy, petechiae, and fever.

If the Ehrlichiosis disease develops into a chronic stage, the dog can begin suffering from lameness, weight loss, coughing, anemia that causes pale gums, bleedings, lameness , neurological problems and eye problems –

Ehrlichiosis prognosis 

is good for dogs with acute ehrlichiosis – for dogs that have reached the chronic stage of the disease, the prognosis is guarded.  When bone marrow suppression occurs and there are low levels of blood cells, the animal may not respond to treatment.

Ehrlichiosis prevention

Limit your dog´s access to tick infested habitats – always check for any ticks and remove immediately  – always use anti-.tick treatments such as Scallibor collar.

Ehrlichiosis treatment

A dog suffering from Ehrlichiosis needs to be given antibiotics such as doxycycline or tetracycline however please see your Vet for this treatment and he will advise you –


Diagnosis is achieved most commonly by Serologic testing of the blood for the presence of antibodies against the ehrlichia organism.  Many veterinarians routinely test for the disease, especially in high risk  areas.  During the acute phase of infection, and after an antibiotic has been taken – a repeat blood  test can be falsely negative because the body will not have had time to make antibodies to the infection.  As such, the test should be repeated after 3 months –