What is Ehrlichiosis?

What is Ehrlichiosis?

Canine monocytic ehrlichiosis occurs after a dog has been infected with Ehrlichia canis bacteria, which gets transmitted to dogs from the bites of brown dog ticks. These pests are especially prevalent in warmer climates, therefore ehrlichiosis is most frequently diagnose in these places.

What Are the Stages and Symptoms of Ehrlichiosis?

After being bitten by a tick carrying the E. canis bacteria, dogs can appear normal for up to three weeks. If the canine has not fought off the infection, they will enter the acute phase, where they can display several symptoms including:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Lymph node enlargement
  • Chronic eye inflammation
  • Unusual bleeding and bruising
  • Neurologic abnormalities
  • Occasional lameness

If left untreated, the above symptoms may last for two to four weeks. Some dogs will then appear to become better—this is called the subclinical phase of an ehrlichia infection and can last for months to years.

Some dogs don’t progress out of the subclinical phase, and others may eventually enter the chronic phase, which gets hard to treat.

What is Canine Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis?

Canine granulocytic ehrlichiosis (CGE) is caused by the Ehrlichia ewingii bacteria, which gets transmitted through the bites of lone star ticks. These ticks are primarily found in the Midwestern, Southeaster and Eastern parts of the country.

Symptoms of CGE include:

  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Lameness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Neurologic abnormalities

How is Ehrlichiosis treated?

A common treatment of ehrlichiosis is a prescription of the antibiotic doxycycline, which is usually given once a day for three to four weeks. There may be other medications depending on different situations.

When given treatment in a timely manner, a dog’s condition will usually improve rapidly. In severe instances, additional treatments may be necessary, which include blood transfusions, immunosuppressive medications or intravenous fluids.


At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. If you have questions about ehrlichiosis, please contact us at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909

Dunlap: 309-439-9522

Dunlap II: 309-413-0527