Mosquitoes and ticks are out to bite our dogs (and us) whether we want them to or not. They are able to transmit diseases to us or our furry friends. Testing and prevention is important since the chance of disease transmission is increasing each year due to the growing tick population and warmer weather.
At Lynwood Animal Hospital the 4Dx test is part of our annual health testing. It detects heartworm and several tick-borne disease. Most people have heard of Lyme disease but did you know that Ehrlichia and Anaplasma are also transmitted by ticks and are becoming more common?
- Lyme disease can present with a variety of symptoms. The most common symptoms are lameness and swelling in joints, lethargy and generalized pain. It can cause kidney failure and is a zoonotic disease (contagious to people).
- Ehrlichia is a bacteria that can infect and live in the white blood cells of a variety of hosts including humans. Symptoms are lethargy, poor appetite and chronic eye inflammation. If not treated it can stay in the body for years showing no outward signs, but causing serious cell deficiencies which can end in death.
- Anaplasma is a tick-borne disease and common symptoms are lameness, lack of appetite, lethargy, fever and weight loss. These symptoms can be easily mistaken for a more common illness and if left untreated can have serious consequences.
- If heartworm preventative is given to a heart worm positive dog it can cause serious complications. If heartworm itself is left untreated it can cause heart failure and death.
The 4Dx test can be done at any time of the year to detect diseases acquired from ticks. The most effective time to check for heartworm is between April and June because the heartworm protein is only detected in the blood 5-6 months after a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito.
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