Oct 30, 2011
On Friday, Oct 28, 2011, I got a text message from a young lady caring for a Singapore Rescue Group's stray dog with tick fever diagnosed by Vet 1 consulted by the Group. According to her, Vet 1 said that the imizole commonly used for treatment of tick fever would be ineffective as this dog had Babesia gibsoni.
As imizole is "ineffective" against Babesia gibsoni, Vet 1 wanted to use the "3 effective" drugs atovaquone, clindamycine and azithromycin. However, it would cost the Rescue Group $1,000. Berenil was cheaper but might cause anaphylaxic shock and in any case there was no stock at that time.
The Rescue Group asked her to top up the bill but she did not have the means to do so. So, she texted me for advice and alternative options.
The dog was sent home without the expensive treatment or imizole. The lady activist thought that the dog was "alone" at the vet clinic and she would take the dog home to die. Berenil would be available possibly 2 days later.
Coincidentally, I was following up on an English cocker spaniel, 11.5 kg with Babesia gibsoni and Ehrlichia tick fever 10 days ago. A Cocker Spaniel has tick fever in 2011 is the case report.
She came today (Sunday Oct 30, 2011) for her 2nd imizole injection (0.6 ml SC today) 10 days after the first injection (0.5 ml SC). Based on her active normal behaviour and much pinker gums, the first imizole injection had worked. Otherwise she should be dead by now.
So, should Vet 1 have given imizole to that stray dog rather than wait for the cheaper Berenil to be available later? Is imizole totally ineffective against Babesia gibsoni? I related the story of the stray dog with tick fever to the cocker spaniel and she was worried that I had not given the correct treatment.
"Will you dog be active and rushing out to play and have pink gums 10 days after the first injection if imizole was ineffective?" I asked her as I gave the 2nd injection today. As the dog still had ticks attached to her head and spinal area, I asked: "Does your dog go under the bed?". She said "Yes, my dog likes to sleep under the bed." I said: "Ticks may be present on the under part of the bed and attaches to the dog. Advantix should work as this spot-on was given 10 days ago when the dog came in. Give another dose in 4 days." I wanted to prescribe the anti-tick wash but did not as I asked her to use the Advantix and the dog had not many ticks.
My thoughts on this fine Sunday morning were for that stray dog and the caregiver who was a student. The young Singaporeans prefer to text and on Saturday, Oct 29, 2011, 2.53 pm, I got the following:
As for the English Cocker Spaniel, as at Nov 3, 2011, the dog is normal. "Except that she tires easily," the owner said to me. She submitted a urine sample for testing. The values were normal. The urine SG was high, at 1.041 (range should be 1.005 -1.030), pH was 7.0 and struvite crystals were present. "Could it be the high liver I am feeding?" the lady asked me. "Should I stop feeding the liver?" She was also feeding iron supplements and all the good home-cooked food. "Since your dog tires easily, she has not fully recovered her normal red cell amount," I said. "The high urine SG is unusual. It shows that the kidneys can concentrate the urine well but what causes it is hard to say." I may need to have another urine test 2 weeks later.
Nov 3, 2011, as I update this report, I had been thinking about the high urine SG. My hypothesis is that the destruction of so many red and white blood cells damaged by the Babesia and Ehrlichia organisms during the past 14 days would have contributed to a large amount of protein damage for the past few days. The kidneys are normal and have to work hard to excrete the urea. This resulted in a high urine SG. There may be a high blood urea but I did not take a blood sample when the urine sample was sent.
Since the kidneys and bladder were normal, there was no proteinuria during urinalysis. Is this hypothesis sound? These are the types of questions the professor may ask in a case study during the final exam of the 5th year vet student. I remembered my "viva" or "oral exam" on a case study during my final year by my Professor of Vet Medicine and an external examiner and I presume Murdoch vet students still get this oral test.
A reply or hypothesis may not be possible for a vet student so much burdened with 5 years of vet knowledge memorised to pass the Final examination in November 2011 if the Professor of Vet Medicine asked about the high SG during the oral test!
Earlier report: A Cocker Spaniel has tick fever in 2011 or