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Anaplasmosis in Dogs

Tick-borne diseases pose serious health risks for people, pets, and farm animals across the US. Spread by the black-legged deer tick, Anaplasmosis is one such tick-borne disease in dogs. Today our Harrisburg vets share the symptoms of Anaplasmosis in dogs and how this potentially serious condition is treated.

What is anaplasmosis in dogs?

Anaplasmosis is caused by the bacteria Anaplasma phagocytophilum, which is spread through the bite of an infected black-legged tick, the deer tick (which also spreads Lyme disease), or the brown dog tick. This potentially fatal condition can be found throughout the United States, but higher rates of the disease have been reported in the Midwest, West Coast, and Northeast.

What are the symptoms of anaplasmosis?

Although some dogs with anaplasmosis are asymptomatic, the most common signs are similar to severe flu symptoms. If your dog has anaplasmosis you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloody nose
  • Lameness
  • Joint pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cough
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Seizures
  • Meningitis
  • Ataxia
  • Chills

Does anaplasmosis go away in dogs?

It is important to take your dog to the vet for an examination if they are showing any of the symptoms listed above. Undiagnosed Anaplasmosis in dogs can result in serious health complications for your dog. Long-term effects of Anaplasmosis in dogs include respiratory failure, organ failure, and bleeding problems. In very severe cases Anaplasmosis in dogs can be fatal.

How is Anaplasmosis diagnosed in dogs?

Diagnosing Anaplasmosis can be tricky since the symptoms of this condition are somewhat vague and could be associated with a range of other diseases. Knowing where your dog has been and whether your dog may have come in contact with infected ticks can help your veterinarian with diagnosis.

Give your veterinarian as much information as possible about where your dog may have come into contact with ticks, the symptoms your dog is experiencing, and when the symptoms first appeared. The first signs of Anaplasmosis in dogs usually appear 2 to 4 weeks after being bitten by an infected tick.

If your veterinarian believes that your dog could be infected with Anaplasmosis they will perform a full physical exam to look for signs of the disease, and any ticks that may be living on your pet. Your veterinarian may also run an antibody test to determine if your dog tests positive for the Anaplasma phagocytophilum bacteria. 

What is the treatment for Anaplasmosis in dogs?

An antibiotic such as Doxycycline, Minocycline, Tetracycline, or Chloramphenicol can be used to treat canine anaplasmosis. Most dogs improve within 24-48 hours of starting the antibiotic treatment.

Can I prevent my dog from developing Anaplasmosis?

Keeping your dog on tick-prevention medication all year is one of the most reliable ways to help prevent Anaplasmosis in dogs. You can also help your dog avoid tick-borne diseases by keeping him away from areas where ticks are most likely to hide (long grass and brush), and by checking your dog for ticks daily so that they can be removed before transmission occurs.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If suspect your dog may have Anaplasmosis, contact us right away. Anaplasmosis is a potentially life-threatening illness.

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