If you’re living in ehrlichia country (like the Philippines), regular blood tests are a must for your dog. That’s because you have no idea when your dog has been bitten by a tick, and yes, your dog can be bitten even if he has anti-tick and anti-flea treatments. A blood test can alert you to a possible ehrlichia infection, and you can begin medications to avert a worst-case scenario.
I’ve seen and heard of far too many dogs dying of ehrlichia because their humans did not have the slightest idea that they had the disease—until it was far too late. Ehrlichia can lead to liver and kidney disease, which can be fatal when not treated early enough. However, when caught early, ehrlichia is very treatable.
I’ve experienced having ehrlichia in my pack, but thankfully, this was caught early on. That’s because we have yearly blood tests. It was through these tests that I discovered that my dog (who spends all day indoors and on whom I never saw a tick, but had obviously been bitten) had the bacterial infection. This is why In some cases, I ask for a blood test to be done every six months, especially when I think that my dog could have been at risk (which could mean any of the following: he has been spending more time outdoors; he has played with some dog that I suspect to have ticks; there have been too many stray dogs or cats hanging out near our house, etc.).
A complete blood test can alert your vet to a positive finding, and this can then be collaborated by an ELISA test.
If your dog has a positive reading, don’t lose heart. Ehrlichia usually responds quickly to medications, and though there are no assurances against future recurrences, you can at least rest in the knowledge that you’ve held the disease at bay, at least for now.
Remember, just because your dog looks super healthy, smells like a baby, and is ultra-spoiled, does not mean he isn’t at risk for ehrlichia. Leave no stone unturned. Be proactive in protecting your dog against ehrlichia and make regular vet visits and blood tests a habit.