A Word on Tick Borne Disease

The racing Greyhound spends a great deal of time in states other than the one in which they were born. And many of those states are noted for having major tick problems.

When a racing Greyhound is retired and leaves the tracks, it can move the adoption process either sick with a possible tick borne disease (TBD) or may have a TBD with no noticeable symptoms. Some of these Greyhounds’ racing careers ended abruptly because they became ill and stopped performing well. It is important for all Greyhound owners to have an understanding of tick borne disease (TBD), how to test and also how to treat their Greyhound, if necessary.

Ehrlichiosis and Babesiosis are two common tick diseases that have three stages. In the acute stage, the Greyhound may become quite ill with flu-like symptoms and sometimes unresponsive diarrhea. This may go on for a few weeks or a few months until either the immune system builds up enough antibodies to fight it to a standoff or the dog dies. If the dog survives thanks to a good immune response, the disease will then go into a sort of dormant stage – often with no symptoms showing. The Greyhound could remain in this stage for many years and may not become ill from it again. But, some dogs will have unrelated or mysterious problems that can baffle many veterinarians, leading to inconclusive tests, incorrect diagnoses and unsuccessful treatments. And sometimes the symptoms will disappear as mysteriously as they appeared. If the Greyhound enters the third stage, it may become seriously or critically ill very quickly and the veterinarian may not even test for tick disease or, if they do test, the dog may die in this stage before treatment can begin. Damage to the organs may be irreparable if the Greyhound enters the third stage of. Tick disease can compromise your Greyhound’s organs and immune system leaving them vulnerable to other disease and cancers.

Tick testing is a simple procedure and involves drawing blood to send off to a laboratory. The blood sample should be sent to a lab specializing in TBD. ProtaTek Reference Laboratory in Chandler, Arizona provides high quality animal health diagnostic testing. They specialize in TBD and perform thousands of tick tests every year. The laboratory is operated by Dr. Cynthia Holland, Ph.D., an authority on tick borne infectious diseases. Their telephone number is (480) 545-8499). Please have your veterinarian contact the laboratory for the correct procedure.

Please consider tick testing your Greyhound. Early testing (please click here) may save your Greyhound’s life! Consult your veterinarian for further information.