Dog Health

Zoonotic ascarids and hookworms : keep them off!

Pets provide many health benefits for people; however, some pets can transmit diseases to people as well. These diseases are called zoonoses but they can be prevented.

Zoonotic diseases are diseases that can be transmitted to people by animals. Broadly, these diseases can be Dog Healthcaused by internal parasites, external parasites, fungal infections, and dog and cat bites. The growing popularity of dogs and cats, together with high rates of ascarid and hookworm infections, is leading to widespread contamination of the soil with infective eggs and larvae. Studies have implicated the presence of dogs, particularly puppies, in a household, and pica (dirt eating) as the principal risk factors for human disease. Children’s play habits and their attraction to pets put them at higher risk for infection than adults.

Roundworms : ascarids & hookworms

Your veterinarian might have told number of times that your pet has got worms. So, what are these worms?

The most common types of parasitic worms are ascarids (Toxocara canis, T. cati) and hookworms (Ancylostoma spp.), which are both intestinal parasites. They live and grow inside the intestine of your pet. These worms often infect puppies and kittens as well as older pets. Ascarids and hookworms develop from eggs into larvae (immature worms). The larvae later mature into adult worms. The term “roundworms” is sometimes commonly used to include both ascarids and hookworms.

WWW : Worm Wide Web

Dogs and cats infected with these worms contaminate their surroundings by passing eggs or larvae in their faeces (waste). Since pets can pass faeces anywhere, they may contaminate a large area quickly. These eggs and larvae are resilient and can survive in areas such as parks, playgrounds, and even inside homes.

Ascarids are spread when a person accidentally ingests an infective egg. If we touch the ground or soil that contains the eggs, and then touch our mouth and swallow the eggs, we can get the disease. Ascarids occur primarily in children, who pick up and eat contaminated dirt. Most cases occur because of lack of personal hygiene.

Hookworms are also intestinal parasites of dogs and cats that can cause disease in people. Transmission occurs when the larvae are accidentally ingested. The larvae can also penetrate the skin.

Dogs and cats of any age may get roundworms, but they are most vulnerable when they are very young. In fact, it is not unusual for puppies of only 2-3 weeks of age to harbour a significant number of worms. That’s because these worms are often passed from a mother to her puppies before birth. Sometimes they are passed shortly after birth, through her milk.

During mild infections, most pets show no sign of infection. However, in case of heavy infections, some pets may show signs, which may include vomiting, loss of appetite, or severe weight loss. Heavy infections in young puppies and kittens may be fatal too. Hookworms suck large amounts of blood from their hosts; while infected animals may look healthy in the first week of life, they can develop a rapidly severe, often fatal, anemia.

Diseases in humans

Toxocariasis is a zoonotic (animal to human) infection caused by the parasitic roundworms commonly found in the intestine of dogs (Toxocara canis) and cats (T. cati). The disease is found worldwide, with varying rates from country to country.

Ascarids enter the body when ingested as eggs that soon hatch into larvae. These larvae travel through the liver, lungs, and other organs. In most cases, these “wandering worms” cause no symptoms or apparent damage. However, in some cases they produce a condition known as visceral larva migrans. The larvae may cause damage to tissue and sometimes affect the nerves or even lodge in the eye. In some cases, they may cause permanent nerve or eye damage, even blindness.

Hookworm larvae typically move about within the skin, causing inflammation in the affected skin. This is called cutaneous (skin) larva migrans. One type of hookworm can penetrate into deeper tissues and cause more serious damage to the intestine and other organs.

Protect: your pet, your family & yourself

Seek the help of a veterinarian, who canrecommend treatments to eliminate and help prevent these worm infections. Since these products are available in many forms, you and your vet can choose which one works best for your dog or cat.

Since puppies, kittens, pregnant and nursing animals are at highest risk for these infections, and therefore responsible for most of the environmental contamination and human disease, anthelmintic treatments are most effective when they are initiated early and targeted at these populations.

Prevention involves the control of parasitic infections in your pets with regular testing and the use of dewormers. You should remove dog and cat faeces from the environment on a daily basis. Hookworm eggs can develop into infective stage larvae in the soil in as little as 5 days and ascarid eggs within 2 weeks, depending on temperature and humidity. Once the eggs become infective, they can remain infective in the environment for years. The best way to prevent infection is to wash your hands after handling dog or cat faeces, after gardening, or before eating.

Most pet owners may not know that their pets may carry worms capable of infecting people. Veterinarians due to their access to the pet-owning public, their knowledge and training, can provide an important public service by recommending regular faecal examinations, providing well timed anthelmintic treatments, counselling clients on potential public health hazards, and advising them on any precautionary measures that may be taken.

(Rohit Bhatia is product Manager (Canine) at, Vetnex, RFCL Limited, New Dellhi.)

Health : Doggy Diabetes

Doggy Diabetes Canines…Cure ‘n’ Care

Dog diabetes is a silent killer that is engulfing our pooches’ health and well-being mutely. Sooner we detect the disorder, better the chances of recovery. In our last issue, we shared in-depth information about the doggie diabetes. As a sequel to it, we are now presenting cure ‘n’ care for it.

If your pet suffers from diabetes, don’t lose hope as it can be controlled by proper treatment and cure. The treatment requires lot of patience…but it’s not at all a big-ask for our pooches pink health.

Owner compliance… aim of the therapyDog Health

Dealing with a diabetic pet is a challenging situation…it requires a lot of patience and commitment as the treatment is a long-term process and tedious regimen to follow. It includes:

  • Stabilizing the patient and correcting ketoacidosis and dehydration, if present.
  • Restoring the levels of blood glucose to as near normal as possible. This will reduce the risk of longterm complications such as cataract, kidney problems, etc.
  • Correct glycosuria (that is the presence of glucose in urine). Once this is done, it will automatically reverse the symptoms of excessive urination and hunger.
  • One needs to remove any predisposing factors; females need to be spayed once they are stabilized. Any sort of corticosteroid, hormonal therapy needs to be stopped, if it is safe to do so.
  • Immediate weight reduction and long term weight management of the patient is critical; this includes a strict diet and exercise plan.
  • Administration of antibiotics to eliminate any infection, e.g. urinary tract infection.

The challenges… canines care

Owners of diabetic dogs need to be constantly aware of the following parameters to avoid any further loss due to disease:

  • A fixed and a constant amount of food each day will monitor his appetite better. Is he still hungry or is he leaving food behind?
  • Assess the patient’s bodyweight on monthly basis.
  • Develop a method to measure water consumption although this is highly variable, but a regular recording of the daily water consumption will help you establish the normal range.
  • Observe the patient for recurrence of clinical signs.
  • After stabilization of the pet, a regular check up is advised. A consistently good glycemic control assures the extension of time between visits to the vet.

Managing treatment…

Therapy for Diabetes Mellitus involves around consistency. The pet needs regular administration of medication, feeding and stable stress-free lifestyle.

Insulin: Administration of insulin injections is the foundation for keeping the blood glucose levels in check. This could be once a day or twice a day regime. Insulin is painless when injected, the needles used are very small and the injection when given will feel like an ant bite. The injection is given under the skin; the pet parent should not panic about causing any vital organ damage. It is crucial to administer the injection at the same time every day for better and stable results.

Diet: An overweight dog needs to lose weight through a combination of a weight reduction diet and personally designed exercise programme. Commercial diets are available in the market, which are a healthy weight loss option. If giving homemade food, then do discuss the diet chart in detail with your vet.

Exercise: Regular exercise promotes weight loss, improves insulin absorption into the cell, and enhances glucose uptake by muscles. Consistency in the level and time of exercise has to be maintained.

The care of a diabetic pet is very challenging; but with your dedication and your veterinarian’s expertise, your pet could continue to have a long and healthy life.

(Dr Kamaldeep Chaggar is a 2nd generation vet; she did her graduation in veterinary science from PAU, Ludhiana and worked with clinics in London and USA. She has also authored several articles on pets and is a regular on radio and TV pet shows.)


A WORD OF CAUTION

One of the most common complications in diabetic pets is giving them too much insulin. If the dose of insulin is just too high, the dog can go in to hypoglycemic shock. This is a life-threatening emergency. He will become depressed, may have seizures and lose consciousness. If this occurs, take your pet immediately to the vet for urgent medical attention. On the way, a little honey/sugar solution or glucose powder paste can be administered orally.

Doggy Diabetes Bearing away sweetness… silently

Doggy Diabetes Bearing away sweetness… silently

Diabetes is one of the prevailing diseases in the Indian pet scenario. Along with the increase in pet parenting, there also has been a sharp rise in specialized care. Now detecting diabetes is just a prick away. “Earlier the detection, better the cure,” is the golden rule for treating this ailment. Here’s some information about types of diabetes and its diagnosis.

The internal clinical data from 1968 to 2006 showed a ratio of 1 diabetic dog in 200 screened but the recent situation shows a ratio of 1 diabetic dog in every 50 screened. Seeing the fathom of the problem, we cannot ignore the role of responsible pet parenting to avoid the incidences of diabetes in our pooch.

Types of Diabetes

We can broadly classify diabetes in two types: Diabetes Mellitus (DM) and Diabetes Insipidus. But DM is one of the most common endocrine conditions seen in dogs. This disease requires a lot of care, commitment and hardwork from both the vet and the pet parent.

A long but aspiring fight…to win

Diabetes mellitus is a disease of the endocrine system. It is found commonly in middle-aged dogs usually between 7 and 9 years. Most females, who have not been spayed, are at higher risk of the disease (66%) due to hormonal influence. Neutered females and males are less commonly affected but obese pooches are also prone to it. DM is caused by an insulin deficiency. Insulin is the hormone that regulates how sugar is absorbed and utilized by the cells and tissues of the body. Without insulin, sugar can accumulate in the blood stream, causing a number of undesirable effects. When the level of sugar reaches approximately twice its normal level in the blood, some of it spills over into the urine.

Devil…has two faces

Diabetes mellitus are of two main types…Type I and Type II.

Type I : In this, there is total loss of beta cells, which are present in the pancreas, which are responsible for secreting insulin. This represents the most common form of DM in dogs. And the pet then has to be maintained on insulin given externally for the rest of his life. This destruction of beta cells can happen because of the following reasons:

  • Immune mediated disease – The dog must be genetically predisposed to diabetes and various environmental factors, such as drug administration or exposure to infective agent is required to trigger development of antibodies against beta cells. Thereby a slow progressive loss of beta cells begins. This remains sub-clinical in the early stages but will eventually result in the development of typical symptoms associated with DM.
  • Genetic pre-disposition.
  • Pancreatitis, acute or chronic pancreatitis are common conditions in the dog. But are rare causes of DM in dogs.
  • Prolonged exposure to insulin antagonist hormones.

Type II : This type of DM is characterized by resistance to insulin rather than the loss of beta cells. These dogs may initially be non-insulin dependent but ultimately become Type I insulin dependent diabetics. This resistance to or inhibition of insulin secretion may occur as a result of over eating and obesity, elevated levels of growth hormone or the administration of glucocoticocoids and thyroxine. 

Detecting early… for better treatment

The onset of diabetes is usually very gradual and the owner misses the symptoms until the disease is quite advanced. So being a guardian, it’s our duty to keep a health check on them. And minutely observe them for symptoms, like :

  • Dogs start drinking lots of water and urinate very frequently. This happens due to high sugar content in the urine.
  • Pets may eat well and in some cases may overfeed but they may actually lose weight. These pets become hungrier because they cannot utilize the sugar present in their blood as this disease results in interference with proteins, fat, carbohydrate metabolism, so there’s weight loss.
  • Cataract development is seen and there may be signs of retinal hemorrhages as well.
  • General debility is noticed and in 50% of the cases, liver enlargement may also be detected.

As the condition progresses, the clinical picture also changes. The initial signs of polyphagia, polyuria and polydypsia may be superseded as the patient develops ketoacidosis and becomes depressed and anorexic, vomits and exhibits dehydration. The breath may have a sweet smell of acetone. The development of ketoacidosis should be viewed as a serious progression of the disease and if left untreated, will lead to diabetic coma and death.

Diagnosing dangers…

If owners find such symptoms, still you don’t have to panic since the above signs may also be found as symptoms of a host of different diseases, for example kidney failure, pyometra, liver problems, drug side affects (steroids, progesterone), Diabetes insipidus etc. Therefore proper diagnostic techniques need to be applied to reach a conclusion.

  • The history of the animal will provide vet with the symptoms of excessive water and food intake. And then a confirmation of the same can be reached by measuring the water intake over a 24-hour period.
  • Analysis of the urine will reveal the presence of glucose. Urinary tract infection as a secondary complication is common in diabetic patients.
  • A persistently elevated fasting blood glucose level above the renal threshold of 10-20mmol/l.
  • A complicated case with ketoacidosis will show the presence of a sweet smell on the breath.


Elevations in the levels of kidney function test values are commonly encountered. If your pet suffers from diabetes, don’t lose hope because it can be controlled by proper treatment and cure. To know more, look forward to our next issue – Jan/Feb 08.

(Dr. Kamaldeep Chaggar is a 2nd generation vet; she did her graduation in veterinary science from PAU, Ludhiana and worked with clinics in London and USA. She has also authored several articles on pets and is a regular on radio and TV pet shows.) (To be continued…)

– by Dr. Kamaldeep Chaggar

 

 

Dog health

Understanding canine Hip Dysplasia

It’s very disheartening to see our loving pal suffer from canine hip dysplasia, which causes discomfort and mobility problems. Here are a few ways to improve or eliminate its symptoms.

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is the most common development disorder of the hip joint, characterized by abnormal development of the hip joint. It usually occurs in both hind limbs, affecting both hip joints. Its effect ranges from very mild lameness to a crippling disease. Lameness may appear at any age.

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition and breeding of affected animals should be discouraged. The best way is to breed dogs with disease free joints based on radiographic evaluation and who have come from families with disease free joints. Do not breed dogs whose offspring have hip dysplasia. Dogs with hip dysplasia can produce normal pups and normal looking dogs can produce hip dysplastic pups.

How it occurs?Dog health

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. The ball (the top portion of the thigh bone or femur) fits into a socket formed by the bones of the hip called the pelvis. In hip dysplasia, there is a loose and improper fit between the socket and the femur, the ligaments which hold them together also become loose, hence causing the ball to slide out of the socket partially in the initial stages (subluxation) and completely in long standing cases. When this occurs repeatedly, the ball gets worn out unevenly, causing erosions on its surface and exposing the underlying bone. Subsequently, bony proliferations occur (osteophytes) eventually resulting in degeneration of the hip joint (Osteoarthritis) and the dog becomes painful, lame and weak in the affected limb.

It is caused by multifactorial-genetics (polygenic-caused by many different genes), environment and nutrition (increased calcium and/or high calorie intake). However, the development of the disease is influenced by body weight, size and rapid growth patterns.

What are the clinical signs?

There are two types of clinical signs :

  • Young dogs who are between 5-8 months exhibit sudden decrease in activity, sore hindquarters, difficulty in rising and reluctant to walk or climb stairs. Initially, it may be noticed once in a while but will begin to get worse over time.
  • Older dogs show intermittent or continuous hind limb lameness after exertion, prefer to sit than stand, stiffness or difficulty in rising, reluctance to run and jump, short choppy steps of the hind limbs, loose or waddling gait, bunny-hopping when running and painful hip joint with decreased range of motion of hip. Shoulder muscles are stronger and thigh muscles are weak. Lameness and pain is usually due to secondary degenerative joint disease (DJD) and osteoarthritis.

How can it be diagnosed?

  • Physical examination : Laxity (excessive looseness of the hip), pain and/or crepitus (caused by rubbing of bony ends) of the hip joints.
  • Radiography : X-rays are taken to see the fit of the femur and pelvis and to look for bony changes in the hip joint. This is done under sedation. The severity of clinical signs often does not correlate with the severity of radiographic signs. Special radiographic procedures are also available to hip joints. Radiographic changes are seen between 6-18 months after which the disease progression is slow. They are graded by the principles laid down by the Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) as borderline, mild, moderate and severe based on the radiographic evidence of damage to the hip joints. Another method of evaluation is a Penn Hip distraction method. Please consult your vet for further details of these procedures.

Radiographs are done to screen for presence or absence of hip dysplasia to select dogs who are suitable for breeding.

How can it be treated?

There is no cure but your dog’s pain and lameness can be managed by following certain conservative management procedures :

  • Restricting activity by limiting exercise to several regular 10 minute walks a day on a leash only for 6 weeks. Confinement to a small cage which encouraged the young pup to sit with his hind limbs spread was shown to reduce the incidence of CHD in genetically susceptible pups. 
  • Physiotherapy: Passive flexion and extension of hind limbs over a range of motion and distal to proximal massage helps prevent joint stiffness and reduces wasting of hind quarter muscles. 
  • Weight loss is absolutely essential for overweight and obese dogs. (To determine ideal body weight for each breed, consult your vet.) 
  • A restricted feeding programme during the rapid growth phase in suspected dogs. 
  • Pain control with analgesics: Consult your vet for the appropriate drug and dosage regimen. Do not selfmedicate. 
  • Chondroprotectives like glucosamine and chondroitin can be used. 
  • Acupuncture/shortwave diathermy/therapeutic ultrasound may give temporary relief from pain. 
  • Swimming is also useful – the aim being to build up muscle mass to support the hips. 
  • Surgical therapy: Surgery may be necessary if signs are severe and unresponsive to medical therapy or chronic in nature. 
  • In young patients, Pectineal myectomy (cutting the pectineus muscle) is an alternative to allow temporary pain relief. 
  • Triple pelvic osteotomy (cutting the bones of pelvis, rotating and fixing with special bone plates) are best performed before hip joint changes occur and is performed before the dog reaches skeletal maturity (usually within one year). 
  • Total hip replacements are indicated in skeletally mature animals with severe painful disease. 
  • Femoral head and neck arthroplasty: Surgical removal of femoral head and neck results in a false joint and pain free movement of hip. Best suited for dogs less than 25 kg. It is a common procedure that can be done with minimal instrumentation and gives good results.

(Dr. S. Ayyappan, M.V.Sc; Ph.D, F.ASIF (Swiss) has a Certificate in Canine Orthopedics (Swiss) and a Post Doc in Veterinary Surgery (USA). He can be contacted at: 9841249129/26475988, e-mail:jujups61@hotmail.com)

-Dr. S. Ayyappan

 


Did you know?

  • Canine hip dysplasia was first reported in 1935.
  • It is mostly seen in giant/large breed dogs like German Shepherds, Retrievers, St. Bernards, Labradors, etc.
  • Hip dysplasia can never be cured but clinical signs may be improved or eliminated with medical or surgical therapy.
  • The clinical signs may go through periods of exacerbation or remission throughout the animal’s life.

The truth and myths behind rabies

Rabies is one of the most dreaded diseases. Here, The Welfare of Stray Dogs (WSD) attempts to demystify this gruesome disease, rabies.

Q : What is rabies? Which part of the body does it affect?

A : Rabies is a fatal viral disease, which affects the central nervous system. It causes inflammation of the brain, leading to death.

Q : How is rabies spread?

A : It is transmitted when infected saliva enters broken skin. This means through the bite of a rabid animal or through its lick on an existing cut or wound. The disease is not airborne and has very rarely been spread by aerosols. It can be spread by all warm-blooded animals (especially mammals), but for humans, dogs are the most important source of infection.

Q : Is it curable?

A : Once the symptoms are developed, it is not curable. However, it can be successfully prevented by prompt post-exposure treatment.

Q : What is the duration of the disease?

A : The ‘incubation period’ is roughly 10 days to one year. It depends on several factors including the site of entry of the virus into the body. Generally, the closer the bite is to the brain, the quicker the progress of the disease. Once clinical signs appear, the disease progresses rapidly to death, generally within 5 to 7 days.

Q : What are the signs?

A : First there are vague, non-specific signs such as fever, nausea or pain. Thereafter, canine rabies can take one of two forms: ‘furious’ rabies or ‘dumb’ rabies. In the furious form, there is great restlessness, abnormal behaviour, salivation, weakness of the back legs and paralysis. The dog is hyper-excitable and aggressive, biting even imaginary objects. In the dumb form, dogs show in-coordination leading to paralysis, and want to hide in dark places. In both forms, there are changes in the voice and inability to swallow. In the last stage, paralysis causes respiratory failure, leading to coma and death.

Q : Does a dog showing these signs definitely have rabies?

A : Not necessarily. Of course, if all the signs are present, there is a strong possibility of rabies. However, certain neurological or other disorders can also show several of these symptoms. Salivation can be caused by foreign bodies or ulcers in the mouth or even by poisoning. People also tend to interpret provoked biting as rabid behaviour. Hence diagnosis should be carried out only by experts.

Q : How is rabies diagnosed?

A : It can be diagnosed either clinically or by laboratory examination. For clinical diagnosis, the veterinarian looks for a combination of symptoms, animal’s history and habits, his attitudes towards his owner (in the case of pets) and towards other dogs. Laboratory examination of brain tissue is carried out after death. Blood tests (ie, ELISA) can be carried out on living animals but are not commonly performed. A layperson is not qualified to diagnose rabies and may cause much harm by attempting to do so.

Q : Is it true rabid dogs cannot bear the sight of water?

A : No, it is more a case of being unable to drink water due to painful spasms and paralysis of the muscles, which assist swallowing. This condition also causes salivation, since the dog cannot swallow his saliva.

Q : Do all stray dogs carry rabies?

A : No. However, they are very vulnerable, since many of them are still unvaccinated and unlikely to get post exposure vaccinations after a bite.

Q : Can pet dogs get rabies? Should they be vaccinated?

A : Yes! Unvaccinated pets who roam freely are at very high risk. Official sources indicate that about half of human rabies deaths are caused by the bites of pets. Pet dogs should be vaccinated every year.

Q : If I am bitten or licked by an animal suspected of rabies, what should I do?

A : Act quickly. (a) As soon as possible, wash the wound for at least 10 minutes with soap water. The importance of washing cannot be overemphasized. It removes 94.4% of the viral particles. (b) Next, disinfect the wound with Dettol, Cetavelon, Betadine or spirit. (c) Consult a doctor and start your post-exposure vaccination course. If any unknown dog makes an unprovoked attack, take the full course. If a known dog makes a provoked attack, take 3 vaccinations at least. In either case the dog should be observed for at least 14 days. This is because in dogs, death generally occurs within 10 to 12 days after the virus reaches the salivary glands. If the animal shows no signs within this period it is more or less safe to assume that he will not have transmitted rabies.

Q : Can an animal who shows no signs of rabies transmit the disease?

A : In real life it is extremely unlikely that a dog who shows no sings will transmit the disease. There is a ‘carrying’ stage called the incubation period, from the time when the virus enters the body and starts multiplying, up to the time it reaches the brain and the animal starts showing signs. Transmission during this period has been very rarely observed and only under laboratory conditions.

Q : Can puppies be born with rabies or get it through their mother’s milk?

A : They cannot be born with it, but the virus could be found in the mother’s milk. However puppies of a rabid female dog are at higher risk through their mother’s lick and bites.

Q : If I am bitten by rabid animal, will I definitely get rabies?

A : No. In fact, human beings are relatively low susceptibility to rabies. According to statistics, on an average only 15-20% of people who have been bitten by proven rabid animals and received no post-exposure treatment die from rabies. However, please do not ever neglect your post exposure treatment. With rabies, you should not take a chance.

Q : What is the rate of human rabies deaths in India?

A : The rate is estimated about 25,000-30,000 deaths per annum. In Mumbai, there were about 50 deaths a year until 1992. The deaths have considerably dropped by 2001, largely due to the implementation of mass vaccination as a preventive measure.

Q : What should I do if I see a rabid-looking stray dog?

A : Call the Municipal Dog Squad and ask them to catch the dog immediately and isolate him for observation. (WSD is a non-profit organization carrying out a mass sterilization-cum-vaccination programmme for stray dogs in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. In the last few years, the organization has sterilized and immunized over 22,000 stray dogs.

They can be contacted at: The Welfare of Stray Dogs, C/o Akanksha, Voltas House ‘C’, TB Kadam Marg, Chinchpokli, Mumbai-33. Tel: 022-23733433/9892974973. or email: wsd@wsdindia.org)A : Rabies is a fatal viral disease, which affects the central nervous system. It causes inflammation of the brain, leading to death.

Q : How is rabies spread?

A : It is transmitted when infected saliva enters broken skin. This means through the bite of a rabid animal or through its lick on an existing cut or wound. The disease is not airborne and has very rarely been spread by aerosols. It can be spread by all warm-blooded animals (especially mammals), but for humans, dogs are the most important source of infection.

Q : Is it curable?

A : Once the symptoms are developed, it is not curable. However, it can be successfully prevented by prompt post-exposure treatment.

Q : What is the duration of the disease?

A : The ‘incubation period’ is roughly 10 days to one year. It depends on several factors including the site of entry of the virus into the body. Generally, the closer the bite is to the brain, the quicker the progress of the disease. Once clinical signs appear, the disease progresses rapidly to death, generally within 5 to 7 days.

Q : What are the signs?

A : First there are vague, non-specific signs such as fever, nausea or pain. Thereafter, canine rabies can take one of two forms: ‘furious’ rabies or ‘dumb’ rabies. In the furious form, there is great restlessness, abnormal behaviour, salivation, weakness of the back legs and paralysis. The dog is hyper-excitable and aggressive, biting even imaginary objects. In the dumb form, dogs show in-coordination leading to paralysis, and want to hide in dark places. In both forms, there are changes in the voice and inability to swallow. In the last stage, paralysis causes respiratory failure, leading to coma and death.

Q : Does a dog showing these signs definitely have rabies?

A : Not necessarily. Of course, if all the signs are present, there is a strong possibility of rabies. However, certain neurological or other disorders can also show several of these symptoms. Salivation can be caused by foreign bodies or ulcers in the mouth or even by poisoning. People also tend to interpret provoked biting as rabid behaviour. Hence diagnosis should be carried out only by experts.

Q : How is rabies diagnosed?

A : It can be diagnosed either clinically or by laboratory examination. For clinical diagnosis, the veterinarian looks for a combination of symptoms, animal’s history and habits, his attitudes towards his owner (in the case of pets) and towards other dogs. Laboratory examination of brain tissue is carried out after death. Blood tests (ie, ELISA) can be carried out on living animals but are not commonly performed. A layperson is not qualified to diagnose rabies and may cause much harm by attempting to do so.

Q : Is it true rabid dogs cannot bear the sight of water?

A : No, it is more a case of being unable to drink water due to painful spasms and paralysis of the muscles, which assist swallowing. This condition also causes salivation, since the dog cannot swallow his saliva.

Q : Do all stray dogs carry rabies?

A : No. However, they are very vulnerable, since many of them are still unvaccinated and unlikely to get post exposure vaccinations after a bite.

Q : Can pet dogs get rabies? Should they be vaccinated?

A : Yes! Unvaccinated pets who roam freely are at very high risk. Official sources indicate that about half of human rabies deaths are caused by the bites of pets. Pet dogs should be vaccinated every year.

Q : If I am bitten or licked by an animal suspected of rabies, what should I do?

A : Act quickly. (a) As soon as possible, wash the wound for at least 10 minutes with soap water. The importance of washing cannot be overemphasized. It removes 94.4% of the viral particles. (b) Next, disinfect the wound with Dettol, Cetavelon, Betadine or spirit. (c) Consult a doctor and start your post-exposure vaccination course. If any unknown dog makes an unprovoked attack, take the full course. If a known dog makes a provoked attack, take 3 vaccinations at least. In either case the dog should be observed for at least 14 days. This is because in dogs, death generally occurs within 10 to 12 days after the virus reaches the salivary glands. If the animal shows no signs within this period it is more or less safe to assume that he will not have transmitted rabies.

Q : Can an animal who shows no signs of rabies transmit the disease?

A : In real life it is extremely unlikely that a dog who shows no sings will transmit the disease. There is a ‘carrying’ stage called the incubation period, from the time when the virus enters the body and starts multiplying, up to the time it reaches the brain and the animal starts showing signs. Transmission during this period has been very rarely observed and only under laboratory conditions.

Q : Can puppies be born with rabies or get it through their mother’s milk?

A : They cannot be born with it, but the virus could be found in the mother’s milk. However puppies of a rabid female dog are at higher risk through their mother’s lick and bites.

Q : If I am bitten by rabid animal, will I definitely get rabies?

A : No. In fact, human beings are relatively low susceptibility to rabies. According to statistics, on an average only 15-20% of people who have been bitten by proven rabid animals and received no post-exposure treatment die from rabies. However, please do not ever neglect your post exposure treatment. With rabies, you should not take a chance.

Q : What is the rate of human rabies deaths in India?

A : The rate is estimated about 25,000-30,000 deaths per annum. In Mumbai, there were about 50 deaths a year until 1992. The deaths have considerably dropped by 2001, largely due to the implementation of mass vaccination as a preventive measure.

Q : What should I do if I see a rabid-looking stray dog?

A : Call the Municipal Dog Squad and ask them to catch the dog immediately and isolate him for observation. (WSD is a non-profit organization carrying out a mass sterilization-cum-vaccination programmme for stray dogs in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. In the last few years, the organization has sterilized and immunized over 22,000 stray dogs.

They can be contacted at: The Welfare of Stray Dogs, C/o Akanksha, Voltas House ‘C’, TB Kadam Marg, Chinchpokli, Mumbai-33. Tel: 022-23733433/9892974973. or email: wsd@wsdindia.org)

Canine liver disease

Think for a moment about filters. They extract impurities from liquids or air. That’s exactly what the liver does, too. (Of course, it does much more than that!) Like us, our dog’s entire blood supply filters through his liver for the removal of waste products. And given the complexity of the liver’s function, no wonder it’s prone to disease. It’s important to monitor your dog for symptoms of liver disease as he ages. When diagnosed early, the treatment for certain types of liver diseases can result in successful recovery.

What causes liver disease?

Liver disease refers to any disorder of the liver, whether it’s metabolic, inflamed, infectious, or cancerous. Here are some common causes for liver disease :

  • Infectious diseases (bacterial, viral, fungal)
  • Parasites
  • Copper and other liver storage diseases
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Poisoning
  • Trauma
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer
  • Drugs
  • Heart disease or congenital abnormality
  • Malnutrition

Signs and symptoms

Keep a keen eye out for the following :

  • Jaundice (yellowness of skin, mucous membranes, whites of eyes, and excretions)
  • Lack of appetite and weight loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased drinking and urination
  • Enlarged abdomen (due to a bulging liver or fluid retention)
  • Seizures
  • Behavioural changes (listlessness, depression)
  • Dark coloured urine
  • Anaesthesia intolerance
  • Gray-white and soft faeces

These symptoms can develop rapidly, or slowly over time. If you notice any of these signs, take your dog to your vet immediately.

Making the diagnosis

To determine a diagnosis, your vet will :

  • Feel your dog’s abdomen for abnormalities like liver enlargement.
  • Examine your dog’s tongue and gums for jaundice.
  • Take a blood sample and test for elevated enzyme levels that could indicate liver disease.
  • Take an ultrasound and biopsy in order to make a definitive diagnosis.

You may need to bring your dog in for repeat tests to see how well he’s responding to the prescribed therapy.

Variations in treatment

Eliminating what’s causing harm to your dog’s liver, and changing his diet, will increase his chances for recovery. Of course, treatment will vary, depending on the type of liver disease your dog has. For example, if he has copper storage disease, he’ll need to eat a special diet that’s low in copper. If his liver disease is a result of trauma, he’ll need rest, nursed care and a diet change. If infection is the cause, he’ll need to take antibiotics.

Dietary considerations

Dietary therapy is a critical part of your dog’s recovery. By moderately reducing the amounts of protein from your dog’s diet, you’ll decrease his liver’s load. By increasing highly digestible complex carbohydrates and high-quality fats, a quick energy release will provide the optimal conditions for repair and regeneration of his liver.

Do not give him table scraps or treats during his recovery from liver disease. He must only consume his prescribed medication, fresh water, and his special diet. Watch your dog closely for recurring symptoms and call your vet immediately if you spot any.

Controlled, not cured

Some types of liver disease just aren’t curable. In these cases, the disease must be managed through supportive therapy for the rest of your dog’s life. Ask your vet for more information on liver disease.

All about fleas


All-about-fleasFleas are troublesome pests that most dogs and dog owners face sooner or later. In fact, a flea infestation is one of the most common but serious canine health problems. Fleas can torment dogs and cause a range of health problems in both dogs and humans. They can also be difficult to get rid of, however the good news is that now many products are available to make this process easier. Read on to learn about fleas, and how to prevent and treat them.

The lifecycle of the flea

Fleas are blind and flightless insects with very powerful hind legs that allow them to jump 150 times as far as their own body length. They are bloodsuckers with well-developed mouth parts that can pierce the relatively thick skin of dogs. When they feed, they secrete saliva to clot the blood. It’s the saliva that causes skin irritations and allergic reactions.

Fleas mate and the females lay eggs on a dog’s body. However, the eggs are not sticky and they can easily fall to the floor or on to bedding. The eggs become larvae after about a week, and the larvae feed on dead skin or hair. Larvae change into pupae, and the adult emerges from the pupae when conditions seem right.

Fleas can sometimes be seen as brownish-black dots moving through your dog’s hair, although they are difficult to spot.

Diagnosis

Because fleas are difficult to spot, a flea infestation is usually diagnosed by the presence of flea dirt black flakes or specks that fleas leave behind. Flea dirt is actually flea excrement. Even if you can’t see them, if your dog has flea dirt, your dog has live fleas.

Fleas are usually found on a dog’s back, rump, stomach, and at the base of his tail. Your dog may scratch and bite himself if he has fleas, especially if the flea bites cause irritation or an allergic reaction. However, even if your dog does not scratch, the presence of fleas should still be of concern. If you suspect your dog has fleas, take him to your vet as soon as possible.

Health concerns

Flea allergy dermatitis : If your dog is allergic to fleas, one bite can be a misery to him. He may scratch and bite his own flesh in an effort to get relief from the itching. And, if he scratches enough to create an open sore, he is at risk of an infection. Flea allergy dermatitis, which describes the inflamed, itchy skin that results from a dog’s allergy to fleas, is the most common skin disease that vets treat. Even without an allergic reaction, flea bites can cause nasty skin irritations on both dogs and humans.

Tapeworms : Fleas also carry tapeworms and dogs can become infected with tapeworms if they swallow infected fleas while grooming. It’s also possible for children, if they accidentally ingest these fleas, to become infected with tapeworms.

Flea anaemia : A less common health concern is flea anaemia. Puppies are particularly at risk of flea anaemia, which results when fleas suck enough blood to cause a life-threatening condition. A dog suffering from flea anaemia will have pale gums. In advanced cases, the dog may become listless and cold. Check your dog’s gums regularly so you can recognize a change that may indicate a health problem.

Prevention and treatment

Prevention : A flea prevention programme will include keeping your dog’s bedding clean and vacuuming regularly. It’s also a good idea to use a flea comb regularly on your dog.

Talk to your veterinarian about flea prevention products, like a flea collar. An effective flea collar is one that is safe for your dog and will kill fleas, larvae and eggs.

Your vet may also recommend a monthly oral preventive medicine, which is sometimes combined with heartworm medication.

Take advantage of your vet’s expertise and the many new products available to prevent fleas. Remember, your dog is depending on your diligence to keep fleas under control.

Treatment : As mentioned, if you suspect your dog has fleas, take him to the vet as soon as possible. Your vet will examine your dog and prescribe a flea control programme.

When treating a flea infestation, you will need to treat both your dog and his environment as well as any other animals in the household. Wash all dog bedding and vacuum all floors, rugs, base boards, and furniture thoroughly.

Fleas and dogs do not go together like salt and pepper. These pests can, and should, be discouraged through prevention and treatment. With the treatments available today, no dog should suffer from a flea infestation.

Dog Health

Vaccination wonders

‘Prevention is better than cure’ is an age-old saying, which holds true even today. Vaccination can protect our canines from several life-threatening diseases. Here are a few viral diseases which can be ably prevented by proper vaccines:

Canine Parvoviral Enteritis : Present worldwide, this disease mostly occurs in breeding kennels, animal shelters, and pet stores or wherever pups are reared and dogs congregate. Certain breeds like Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and English Springer Spaniels are reported to be at exceptional risk of severe disease. While the infection generally has no age predilection, the severest form of the disease occurs in pups aged 6-12 weeks of age, who may collapse in a “shock-like” state and die suddenly without enteric signs, after only a brief period of malaise.

Prevention : Although maternal antibodies confer protection to the new born pup, subsequent vaccination at 45 days of age is a must. A booster 21 days after primary vaccination is advisable followed by yearly vaccinations. However, control of parvoviral infections requires strict hygiene, isolation of affected pups and efficacious vaccines.

Canine Distemper (CD) : A dog contracts the disease by airborne and droplet exposure. The disease is Dog Healthworldwide in distribution and has no breed or sex predilection, though young animals are more susceptible. The disease is usually present in certain areas of India, especially the south. Contact with non-vaccinated carnivores increases the risk of the disease.

Prevention : Vaccination at 45 days of age with booster after 21 days and yearly vaccination subsequently can prevent CD. Also, avoid contact of your dog with stray animals.

Rabies : Unarguably the most talked about disease, the name comes to ones’ mind synonymously with dogs. And why not, it is extremely dangerous and transmissible to humans in whom, as in the case of dogs, it is 100% fatal. Although present worldwide certain countries like the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Japan and parts of Scandinavia are free from rabies. In developing countries like ours, it is quite prevalent.

Prevention : Vaccination is a must!! Vaccinate at 12-14 weeks of age (and not before 3 months) followed by yearly vaccinations. Keep your dog on a tight leash if the stray dog population in your area is high. Even bites by animals such as cats, monkeys and rats are potentially hazardous. If bitten, consult your vet immediately.

Infectious Canine Hepatitis : This disease usually affects dogs under one year of age and has no breed or sex predilection. The virus primarily causes the inflammation of the liver and may also affect the eyes.

Prevention : Vaccination at 45 days of age with a booster 21 days later followed by yearly vaccinations.

Dog Health

Tick troubles – All you wanted to know about canine babesiosis

Come summers and all responsible pet parents are wary of ticks, which can become a major health hazard for our loving pooches. Here’s some info about babesiosis, a common tick-borne disease. Watch out for this disease and protect your four-legged friend from misery.

Canine babesiosis is a tick borne haemoprotozoan disease of domestic dogs widely prevalent in tropical and Dog Healthsubtropical regions of the world including India. The disease is characterized by erratic fever, malaise, anorexia, weight loss, unthriftiness and severe anaemia of haemolytic nature. Because of haemolysis, babesiosis can be a life threatening disease.

How babesiosis is caused?

The disease is caused by several species of Babesia mainly B. canis, B. gibsoni and B. vogeli. Babesia sp. are generally found inside the red blood cells (RBC) and individual RBC may contain single or multiple organisms. As many as seventeen species have been identified to infect the canines, of which B. canis and B. vogeli are of similar size, and are larger than B. gibsoni. In India, B. canis is more prevalent in southern regions of the country, whereas B. gibsoni is more prevalent in northern regions and in and around Delhi. However, several species and sub-species of Babesia i.e. B. canis rossi, B. odocoileis, B. microti, B. equi etc. have also been identified in different countries of the world which differ in their pathogenecity, leading to various grades of symptoms.

How babesiosis is transmitted?

Canine babesiosis is transmitted between dogs mainly by the brown dog ticks, Rhipicephalus sanguineus. The life-cycle of brown dog ticks is shown in the picture above. However, the disease is also transmitted through Haemophysalis or Dermacentor spp. Besides, it can also be transmitted from the infected mother to the puppy or through blood transfusion.

Which season babesia infection occurs?

The disease is occurring in tropical and subtropical regions of the world and is more common during summer and rainy seasons due to enhanced activity of the vectors (ticks) owing to favourable climate. But, the chronic cases can be encountered any time of the year. Stress can flare up the disease further. This disease is not breed-specific.

What are the symptoms of babesiosis?

The naturally occurring cases of babesiosis are manifested by a wide variety of clinical signs such as partial appetite/inappetance/anorexia, dehydration, fever/no fever/erratic fever, dullness/depression, diarrhoea/constipation, pale mucosa, ticks on body, hepatolmegaly, vomiting/nausea, splenomegaly, rapid thready pulse, nasal discharge, ataxia/CNS signs, distended abdomen/ascites, dysponea/labored breathing, yellow coloured urine/coffee coloured urine, emaciation/weight loss, occular discharge, oedema and death.

The disease occurs in per acute (severe), acute (moderate) or chronic (mild) forms. Dogs usually suffering from per acute form, are characterized by shock due to low blood pressure, deficiency of oxygen, extensive tissue damage, shock, coma or death following one day of complete loss of appetite and lethargy. Acute phase is characterized by anaemia due to destruction of RBC, enlargement of spleen and increased number of platelets. It may also be fatal in pups. Chronic phase is characterized by intermittent fever, partial loss of appetite, lethargy, depression and loss of weight. Sometimes a typical signs such as distension of abdomen due to fluid accumulation, ulcer, epileptic fits, pneumonia and cutanious manifestations are also seen.

How babesiosis can be cured?

The treatment of canine babesiosis is complicated by the wide variety of host factors and Babesia spp. with differing degrees of drug tolerance and susceptibility. Small Babesia species i.e. B. gibsoni is more refractory to treatment than B. canis. Severely anaemic dogs should receive oxygen therapy and whole blood transfusions in addition to specific antibabesial drug. Supportive therapy with poly-ionic isotonic fluids, blood transfusion, and hepatotropic tonics helps in recovery. Both diminazine aceturate and imidocarb are toxic drugs; therefore treatment of dog should be undertaken under the strict supervision of the competent veterinarians.

Why treatment failures occur?

  • Improper diagnosis at early stages of infection.
  • The small Babesia (B. gibsoni) is difficult to treat than B. canis. The same dose rate and schedule, which are effective against B. canis infection, is not enough to cure B. gibsoni infection due to its different morphological nature.
  • Different organ failures, which remain undiagnosed.
  • Drugs became unresponsive due to severe anaemia.
  • Concurrent infection of Ehrlichia canis, Trypanosoma evansi or Dirofileria immitis etc.

Although, the antibabesial drugs are easily available in market but the treatment of ailing dogs requires professional skill because of many complications and should therefore be undertaken under the advice and care of the competent veterinarian.

How babesiosis can be controlled?

  • Control of canine babesiosis is possible only with the control of tick population by spraying kennels and dipping/ spraying or bathing dogs at regular intervals.
  • Although, treated dogs clear infection, but remain sub-clinically infected and may be re-infected and serve as source for further spread of disease. Such dogs should never be used for blood transfusions because it can produce infection in recipient animals.
  • At present there is no effective vaccine available against B. gibsoni to prevent or control the infection, but B. canis infection can be controlled by using cell culture vaccines derived from exoantigens of B. canis.
  • Common acaricides such as amitraz (2 to 3 ml/litre), fiproil and pyrethrins can be used to control the vectors or ticks.

(Dr. Shubhamitra Chaudhuri has recently completed his M.V.Sc. Veterinary Medicine under the guidance of Dr. J. P. Varshney (B.V.Sc. & A.H.; M.V.Sc. (Medicine) and Ph.D. (Vet. Med.), retired principal scientist (veterinary medicine) and a renowned canine expert. Dr. Chaudhuri can be contacted at 09411222306 or email at drshubhamitra@rediffmail.comdrshubhamitra@gmail.com while Dr. Vashney can be contacted at 9897224580 or email : at dr_jpvarshney@rediffmail.com or drvarshneyjp@yahoo.co.in)

Dog Health

Is Your Dog suffering from Ehrlichiosis

Ticks are carriers of various canine diseases and ehrlichiosis is one of the most fatal diseases caused by them. The greatest challenge in battling ehrlichiosis is in detecting and accurately assessing the clinical signs.

Over the past several decades, ehrlichiosis has emerged as an important threat to dogs worldwide. During recent years, it has gained the reputation as “the AIDS of the canine world.” Dogs not only become clinically affected with ehrlichia or rickettsia but may also serve as a reservoir host.

What is ehrlichiosis?

Canine ehrlichiosis is tick-borne potentially fatal and enigmatic infectious rickettsial disease of dogs, prevalentDog Health in India since 1944. It is colloquially known as canine rickettsiosis, canine typhus, idiopathic haemorrhagic syndrome, canine haemorrhagic fever, tropical canine pancytopenia, Lahore canine fever, Nairobi bleeding disease or tracker dog disease in many parts of the world. Its ability to mimic other diseases and devastating effects makes canine ehrlichiosis a deadly disease. The disease often remains undiagnosed in naturally occurring cases in field owing to nonspecific symptoms, species variation, coand concurrent infections, etc. Hence, timely diagnosis in severely affected chronic cases is escaped leading to futile treatment.

What causes ehrlichiosis?

The disease is caused by obligate intracellular bacteria of genus Ehrlichia of the family Rickettsiacae. Three species of Ehrlichia viz. Ehrlichia canis, E. ewingii and E. platys have been reported in India. Ehrlichia canis, a small and pleomorphic organism that infects circulatory leukocytes, mainly monocytes, causes canine ehrlichiosis. The organism occurs either singly or in compact colonies or inclusions, termed morulae, in the cytoplasm of the infected cells. E. canis, E. ewingii and E. platys are considered strictly canine parasites.

How ehrlichiosis is transmitted?

Canine ehrlichiosis is transmitted between dogs by the brown dog ticks, Rhipicephalus sanguineus and possibly the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis. Ehrlichia infections have frequently been reported in dogs with simultaneous infections with Babesia, reflecting concurrent transmission of organisms from commonly infected reservoir ticks. Ehrlichia species can be transmitted by blood transfusion, so blood donors should be screened.

What are the symptoms of ehrlichiosis?

Naturally occurring canine ehrlichiosis is manifested by a wide variety of clinical signs. The greatest challenge in battling ehrlichiosis is in detecting and accurately assessing the clinical signs. The only consistent finding in canine ehrlichiosis is the inconsistency of clinical symptoms. Clinical signs in acute phase of the disease are transient, subtle and mild. Clinical signs mimic those caused by other diseases. Signs may appear 1-3 weeks after infection and often disappear within 2-4 weeks.

Acute phase : Mild depression, anorexia, lethargy, fever, and mild loss in body weight, lymphadenopathy and splenomegaly characterize acute phase. Despite significant thrombocytopenia, haemorrhagic diathesis usually does not occur. Also, ocular signs are not commonly seen at this stage. Whenever ocular signs are present, they involve nearly every structure of the eye (including conjunctivitis, conjunctival or iridal petechiae and echymoses, corneal oedema, hyphema, panuveitis, secondary glaucoma, retinal haemorrhage and detachment). The most frequently observed ocular signs in canine monocytic ehrlichiosis are anterior uveitis, retinal vascular engorgement and tortuosity, perivascular cuffing, diffuse retinitis, retinal haemorrhages and detachment. Clinical signs resolve without treatment in most cases and the dog enters into subclinical phase, which is asymptomatic. During acute phase, transient proteinuria without histologic evidence of glomerular disease has been observed.

Chronic phase : Dogs unable to eliminate infection enter into chronic phase that is characterized by weakness, depression, anorexia, vomiting, emaciation, pale mucosa, erratic fever, peripheral oedema especially of the hind limb and scrotum, and hepato- and splenomegaly. Haemorrhagic episodes (such as skin petechiae and ecchymoses, buccal haemorrhages, epistaxis, haematuria, haematochezia, haemetemesis and hyphema) are also seen in many cases. Interstitial pneumonia, arthritis, renal failure may also occur occasionally. Increased lung sounds on auscultation are attributable to pneumonic changes in the lungs that develop in canine ehrlichiosis or may reflect concurrent cardiopulmonary disease. Neurological signs (such as depression, ataxia, convulsions, cranial nerve deficit, and head tilt) are also seen in canine ehrlichiosis with or without concurrent babesiosis.

Large variations in clinical signs are due to a number of factors including differences in pathogenicity between strains of ehrlichia, breeds of dog, coinfection of ehrlichial species, concurrent infection with other organisms (such as babesia, trypanosoma, dirofiliaria) and/or immune status of the dog.

How ehrlichiosis can be cured?

Treatment of ailing dogs requires professional skill because of many complications and should therefore be undertaken under the advice and care of the competent veterinarian.

Tetracycline, doxycycline, chloramphenicol and imidocarb are the drug of choice and if given timely in appropriate dose schedule are beneficial. Supportive therapy with polyionic isotonic fluids, blood transfusion, and vitamin B complex hastens the recovery. Treatment of severe chronic form of ehrlichiosis is unrewarding in many cases particularly in severely pancytopenic dogs owing to uncontrolled haemorrhages and secondary infections.

For the arrest of haemorrhages during severe chronic phase, blood transfusion is undoubtedly a life saving measure of the first order.

How ehrlichiosis can be prevented?

Prevention of canine ehrlichiosis is possible only with treatment of vertebrate host. Tick population can be controlled by spraying kennels and dipping/ spraying or bathing dogs at an interval of 1-2 weeks, as vector transmission is probably the only means of spread under natural circumstances. Common acaricides such as amitraz, fiproil and pyrethrins are effective in controlling ticks. Long-term use of tetracycline or repository oxytetracycline has been used to prevent or control epizootics of ehrlichiosis. Longer therapy of 1-2 years duration has been recommended in endemic areas so that infected ticks die off. Despite success of the tetracycline in prevention of the ehrlichiosis, it does not seem practical owing to the possibility of future development of resistant strains of E. canis. There is no lasting immunity in case of E. canis infection following treatment. Treated dogs, cleared of infection, become susceptible to re-infection and clinical disease develops despite antibody titre. At present there is no effective anti E. canis vaccine for the prevention or control of canine ehrlichiosis. Because E. canis is not passed transovarially in the tick, it can be eliminated in the environment by tick control or by treatment of all dogs throughout a generation of ticks.

(Dr. J.P. Varshney, B.V.Sc. & A.H.; M.V.Sc (Medicine); and Ph.D. (Vet. Med.), has more than 40 years of clinical experience and has recently superannuated from the post of Principal Scientist (Veterinary Medicine), Division of Medicine, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, Bareilly. He is in receipt by numerous awards. He can be contacted at 9897224580 or email at dr_jpvarshney@rediffmail.comdrvarshneyjp@yahoo.co.in)