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Anaplasmosis in Dogs

Posted Apr 15th, 2022

In the US ticks are a common carrier and transmitter of various diseases. Anaplasmosis is one of the diseases commonly spread by the black-legged deer tick. Today, our Sacramento vets share the symptoms of Anaplasmosis in dogs as well as how it is typically diagnosed and treated.

What exactly is anaplasmosis in dogs?

Anaplasmosis is caused a bacteria called Anaplasma phagocytophilum which is spread by the bite of an infected black-legged tick deer tick (which is also responsible for the spread of Lyme disease), or brown dog tick. This potentially serious condition can be found across the US but higher rates of the disease are reported in the Midwest, West Coast and Northeast.

What are the common signs of anaplasmosis?

Although some dogs with anaplasmosis show no symptoms at all, 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 need to be diagnosed and treated?

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

How is Anaplasmosis diagnosed in dogs?

Diagnosing Ananplasmosis 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.

Ensure that you provide your vet with all relevant information such as what your dog's symptoms are, when they first began showing symptoms and where they experienced the tick bite. The first symptoms of Anaplasmosis will typically appear in dogs between 2 - 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 treatments are available for Anaplasmosis in dogs?

Anaplasmosis in dogs is most commonly treated using antibiotics such as Doxycycline, Minocycline, Tetracycline, or Chloramphenicol. Most dogs show an improvement within 24- 48 hours after beginning the antibiotic treatment.

Is it possible to prevent Anaplasmosis?

Providing your dog with year-round tick medication can help to prevent your dog from contracting anaplasmosis. You can also help your dog to avoid contracting tick-borne diseases by keeping your pup away from areas where ticks are most likely to be hiding (long grass and brush), and ensuring that you are consistently checking your dog for ticks when they come back inside.

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 your dog is showing signs that they have been exposed to anaplasmosis or another serious condition please visit our Sacramento animal hospital. Our veterinary team is here to help.

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Elkhorn-Walerga Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Sacramento companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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