Testing Dogs with 4Dx for Tick Diseases and Feline Leukemia Update


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Tick disease is an epidemic, agrees Dr, Missy Beall, medical affairs manager at IDEXX. On my national Steve Dale’s Pet World radio show HERE, she explains the importance of screening dogs for tick diseases. It’s a part of the same test we hopefully routinely test for heartworm. The test isn’t a geography quiz, but instead the Snap 4Dx Plus test, which is a simple blood test. 

The test determines exposure to tick bites. And this test is amazing because it determines exposure to Ehrlichia canis or Ehrlichia ewingii and Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Anaplasma platys as well as Lyme disease – not all tick diseases but important ones.

Two issues: o

  1. Sadly some dogs are co-infected, and may also suffer from an infection from a tick disease not even indicated here, but now veterinarians will know to investigate diagnostics.
  2. And dogs may not have immediate overt symptoms to tick disease, so there’s no other way to know they’re infected. Some dogs may hobble around on some days, but owners may attribute that to a dog’s age or changes in weather. Other dogs may be really off for a day or two, but then bounce back – so a veterinary appointment is never made. Other dogs may run a low fever and feel like we do if we have the flu, but they can’t tell us. And being dogs, we never know, as they still fetch tennis balls with gusto. However, it’s important to know if your dog has been exposed to tick disease.

Beall reveals that IDEXX studies have just determined that dogs may be at increased risk of chronic kidney disease due to Lyme or Ehrlichia canis.

Learn more here.

On the cat side, Dr. Beall speaks at the 40th Annual Winn Feline Foundation Symposium,  “Feline Leukemia Virus — past, present, and perpetually perplexing”

Despite its discovery over 50 years ago, the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) continues to challenge our thinking about the nature of the disease and our ability to diagnose the infection. Testing, vaccination, and segregating progressively infected cats helps to control the spread of the disease – at least we think so. Are we going too far though? We continue to refine our understanding of the different stages of the infection and how this relates to the results of available diagnostic assays.  The complex viral behavior, which sometimes yields confusing test results. Today we know many cats with FeLV manage to control the infection and live out a normal life. Highlights of the presentation include new studies performed in collaboration with veterinary experts and shelters that successfully rehome infected cats will be presented. Results of this new research are helping to inform improvements in medical decisions and long-term patient care.

Also at the Winn Symposium, Dr. Katie Tolbert, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, discusses treatments for the parasite, Tritrichomonas foetus, which may cause gastrointestinal issues in kittens, often severe. 

The 40th Winn Symposium will be held on June 28th, 2018 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia, 4355 Ashford Dunwoody Rd., Atlanta, GA. Proceeds benefit the Winn Feline Foundation, a non-profit funder of cat health studies. Register HERE for the symposium.