Ticks need to feed for a minimum of 5 to 20 hours to transmit the parasite, therefore tick prevention and removal is important in preventing this disease.
Dogs become ill within days of infection. As the parasite enters the blood stream it causes damage to blood vessels, leading to bleeding. Clinical symptoms can be severe, and range from bruises, nosebleeds, swelling, coughing, limping and seizures.
A diagnosis can be made using several available blood tests and treatment consists of antibiotics (usually Doxycycline) and supportive measures (blood transfusions, vascular support).