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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,

I'm feeling uneasy about a diagnosis and prescription from my vet today. One of my dogs (2 years old), healthy and robust for the whole year she has lived with me, got diarrhea over the weekend. I would have let it run its course for a while, but she had a fever, too. Her first ever fever with me. She is still eating, but she is incredibly food driven. Nothing stops her from eating, so I took her to my local clinic.

The doctor immediately jumped on a diagnosis of "blood parasites". I've taken care of dogs for 12 years, with the very occasional fever (almost never) and also very occasional diarrhea, and I've never heard of blood parasites. The doctor did not draw blood or closely examine the dog. Just asked if she is throwing up. (She isn't.)

Just as a caregiver, my instinct is that my dog just got a hold of something rotten in the road while walking, as she sometimes manages to do, and got some bacterial infection or something that also gave her a fever. I just wanted a fever reducer and a minimal course of general antibiotics, usually 5-7 days at a clinic here.

Instead I was given 14 days of Doxycyclin and told that it covers both blood parasites and general digestive infections. I don't know. It just feels like overkill. My dogs don't like taking antibiotics (and neither do I- they effect my mood and make me extremely depressed).

Does anyone have experience with or knowledge of blood parasites? Should this really be an initial diagnosis, based only on diarrhea + fever + no vomiting?

Thank you for any insight.

(Note: We live in Thailand.)
 

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You live in Thailand and may be subject to infections that are not common in the USA-dominated context of this forum. If your vet has good qualifications and a lot of local experience, I'd be inclined to go ahead with the antibiotic treatment. I googled "blood parasite dog" . ...there is a real possible problem of Babesiosis. Yes. We need to limit use of antibiotics. But I don't think anyone here can say whether or not this is a case where antibiotics are appropriate. Suggestion: Ask your vet for clarification of what organism the "blood parasite" is, and how common it is in your area.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Yes, that is always a possibility. The thing is, I have been going to vets for these 12 years all in Thailand, three main vets in three different cities. And I have never heard the words "blood parasite" mentioned in all that time until now. If it was some sort of pronounced regional concern, it seems like I would have heard of it during conscientious routine vet care of six dogs over the course of 12 years.

Unfortunately, for cultural reasons outside the... US-flavored context of... our... forum (I don't support domination)... I cannot inquire further with the vet. My only other option is to go for a separate diagnosis from another vet far on the other side of town.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
For cultural reasons you can't go back to your vet? That makes little to no sense.....
It may make little or no sense to some people in the US/Canada. I live in provincial Thailand. Sense is an extremely cultural thing. A vet in a very different culture is not the same as a vet in the US.

If you feel your vets diagnosis was made out of haste - seek a second opinion.
Yes, I am here to gather information before making that decision, as it will be quite a bit of trouble to do.
 

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Also Google "blood parasite dog" and read what you get. Seems likely that English is not the native language for the vet, and he or she may use the term "blood parasite" to describe something other than what we would expect. I read a few articles, and some sources consider heartworm to be a blood parasite, others consider it blood borne mycoplasmas . .. many use it to refer to a variety of diseases carried by ticks, flies, mosquitoes, and fleas. Diagnosis is often difficult. Treatments vary widely depending on which parasite is involved.

If the vet did not draw blood, I, too, would consider this a shoddy . .. unless the clinic has been treating case after case of something and the vet's unspoken reaction was "here we go again". Even then, a positive identification of the parasite would be good.

Hope your dog has gotten better. If not, I would look for another vet.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Yeah, thank you. I did some more reading, too. Chances are in Sunny's case the vet probably didn't mean heartworm, because although heartworm is certainly a present danger here, she herself administers ivermectin to the dogs every month and she knows that I know that it is for heartworm prevention. But I was reading more about Doxycyclin, and evidently it is used to treat Lyme disease (among many other things), which seems to be a tick-borne parasite, and Rocky Mountain fever, which I think also comes from ticks. I came across several videos trying to raise awareness of Lyme disease in dogs, saying that it is much more widespread than people think in some areas, and that infected dogs can remain asymptomatic for extended periods.

When Sunny came to me, she did have a big tick problem, not the really gross Internet photos you see of skin covered in ticks, but she had a large number of fat ticks, particularly between her toes. They were quickly banished with Frontline (which is very effective against ticks and fleas in this area- not like Revolution which did NOT work here), but it's possible she picked something up from all those ticks and has been carrying it without symptoms this past year. Possibly local vets are finding out that these sort of diseases are prevalent around here- I don't know.

In any case according to Internet websites, the dose of Doxycyclin prescribed is correct, and it is usually taken for at least 7 days. 14 days or even longer is not unusual, depending on what is being fought. Since it is seems to be a reasonably mainstream antibiotic- nothing too weird- and since it seems it will cover a general bacterial upset, if that's all it is, I am opting to go ahead administering the 14-day prescription, unless something goes amiss along the way, of course. I'm thinking even if the current diarrhea isn't caused by parasites, it might be good to have this medicine go through her for one round, considering all the ticks she was carrying around at the time she came.

So here goes. Sunny is already feeling perkier again, since the fever reducer kicked in. Hopefully she will tolerate the Doxycyclin okay, and we can just get this thing behind us.
 

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I would continue with the doxy as prescribed. My Darby had a fever and diarrhea for four days and her vet visit showed she had ehrlichia.

If you adopted her and she had a tick problem I could fully believe she has tick disease of some sort. Ticks are a major vector of disease.
 
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