Risk of Ehrlichia species exposure on the rise across portions of U.S.

Improved detection confirms significant threat from lone star tick, supports need for year-round tick control in dogs and cats.

IDEXX Laboratories recently reported that dogs in the south central and eastern regions of the country are being exposed to a greater number of ticks and tick-borne diseases than once thought, according to a company-issued press release. Researchers with IDEXX compared reference laboratory results conducted in 2011 with current results from one of its SNAP diagnostic tests—also run at the reference laboratory—and found that there was up to a fourfold increase inEhrlichia species exposure this year.












But is this the result of improved laboratory tests and better detection, or is the nation’s tick population growing and branching out into uncharted territory? It’s true that the company’s SNAP 4Dx Plus test, which screens for a number of common tick-borne pathogens, was recently upgraded to include antibody detection for Ehrlichia ewingii, but that’s only part of the story, says Susan Little, DVM, PhD, DEVPC (right), professor of veterinary parasitology at Oklahoma State University. “That test has wider platform and is detecting an agent that we didn’t previously have serologic assays to detect,” she says. “But the vector tick that transmits Ehrlichia ewingii, the most common Ehrlichia species infecting dogs in the U.S., now has a broader geographic distribution, too.”

Ehrlichia ewingii is transmitted by the lone star tick, and dogs in the southern part of the U.S. have always been at risk for this type of Ehrlichiosis, due to the tick’s overwhelming presence in that region. But even that indigenous tick population is growing, says Little, and now the lone star tick is migrating north into much of the eastern two-thirds of the country.

However, Little is encouraged by the fact that laboratories such as IDEXX are striving to create better diagnostic tests that pick up more disease-causing agents, like Ehrlichia ewingii. “We need to characterize the full gamut of what’s out there and have diagnostic tests that identify the infection,” she says. “Many veterinarians recognize that a patient has a tick-borne disease, but they’re not able to figure out what it is.”

But that could be changing, as evidenced by the recent upgrade in the IDEXX test. “While many veterinarians in highly endemic areas are familiar with acute E. ewingii infections, we don’t know a lot about this pathogen because testing for it has been limited until now,” says Melissa Beall, DVM, PhD, manager of medical affairs at IDEXX. “IDEXX is excited to be able to help veterinarians screen for a pathogen and evidence of a tick species that is fast becoming a larger threat to people and pets in more parts of the country.”

In order to keep that threat to a minimum, Little suggests that veterinarians follow the Companion Animal Parasite Council’s recommendations and urge clients to practice year-round tick control and prevention. “We need to be more adamant with clients about year-round tick control for dogs and cats,” Little says. “Tick control protects dogs and cats from tick-borne diseases—the ones we know about and the ones we’re still finding out about.”


HOW DO WE FIX THIS ISSUE DOCTOR ANDY???? By purchasing Revolution at our office this will not only take care of your fleas and heartworms prevention but it also takes care of the most common ticks. But when you purchase here in the office you are welcome to a free tick collar!

FDA urges veterinarians to avoid ambiguity when writing prescriptions for pets

Human pharmacists may misinterpret veterinary medication and dosage instructions, agency says.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) began to examine error reports for veterinary medications in 2008. Now, safety reviewer Linda Kim-Jung of CVM’s Division of Veterinary Product Safety says that the medication errors that occur in the prescription of medicine to pets are similar to those that happen in the treatment of people.

According to a release from the FDA, Kim-Jung says errors can start with simple abbreviations—especially now that some clients have their veterinary prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies. Although veterinarians are taught to use abbreviations to save time, abbreviations taught on the human side may be different from those veterinarians use. “Poor penmanship can add to the problem, too,” Kim-Jung says. This can lead to transcription errors at the pharmacy.

In its review of error reports, the CVM found that dosing abbreviations are often misread. For example, “s.i.d.” (once daily) has been misinterpreted as “b.i.d.” (twice daily) and “q.i.d.” (four times daily), leading to overdoses. Transcription errors can also occur as a result of misinterpreting abbreviations such as “U” (units) for “0” or “mcg” (microgram) for “mg” (milligram), or when prescriptions are written with leading or trailing zeroes.

“A 5-mg dose written with the trailing zero as 5.0 mg can be misread as 50 mg, or a 0.5 mg dose written without the leading zero as .5 mg can easily be mistaken for 5 mg, potentially resulting in a 10-times overdose,” Kim-Jung says.

To avoid prescription mixups, the CVM recommends that veterinarians adopt the following practices:

• Completely write out the prescription, including the drug name and dosage regimen. The full dosage regimen includes the dose, frequency, duration and route of administration.

• When writing out a dose, do not use a trailing zero and do use a leading zero.

• When calling in or writing out a human drug prescription for animals, verbally state or write out the entire prescription, because some pharmacists may be unfamiliar with veterinary abbreviations.

• Consider using a computerized prescription system to minimize misinterpretation of handwriting.

The CVM also says programs should be considered at the veterinary school level to teach students about the dangers of using abbreviations.

Doctor Andy Really Loves His Clients

Photo: Doctor Andy really does treat his patient's like they are his own. Here he is with Dexter Green this morning.


Sure any other vet can say they love their patients like its their own but Doctor Andy truly does. Here is Doctor Andy with our Accountant, Michelle Green’s, dachshund. Dexter was loving on Doctor Andy even after he underwent his annual wellness exam and vaccines. The pup even got a dental!!

“Tuk” the Police Dog

Dr. Andy is taking care of a Police dog, “Tuk,” in the hospital today.

Photo: Dr. Andy is taking care of a Police dog, "Tuk," in the hospital today. We are treating him for a medical condition. The Interlachen Animal Hospital family is asking for good thoughts and prayers to help him recover quickly! Positive thoughts means positive outcomes!

We are treating him for a medical condition.

The Interlachen Animal Hospital family is asking for good thoughts and prayers to help him recover quickly!

Positive thoughts means positive outcomes!