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Anaplasmosis in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment

Anaplasmosis in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment

Diseases carried by ticks pose a significant health risk for farm animals, pets and people across North America. Anaplasmosis is one of these diseases. Here, our West Chester vet team will explain what anaplasmosis in dogs is, its symptoms and its treatments. 

What is anaplasmosis in dogs?

Anaplasmosis is a disease caused by a bacteria named Anaplasma phagocytophilum. This bacteria is spread through the bite of an infected black-legged deer tick (the same tick responsible for Lyme disease) and the brown dog tick. The highest rates of this disease are on the West Coast, in the Midwest and in the Northeast but it is found all over the United States. 

What are the symptoms of anaplasmosis?

While some dogs who have anaplasmosis are asymptomatic, the most common signs are very similar to a severe flu. You may notice one or more of the following symptoms in your dog with anaplasmosis:

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

Does anaplasmosis go away in dogs?

It is imperative that you bring your dog to your West Chester vet for examination if they are showing any of the above symptoms. Anaplasmosis, if it is not promptly treated, can cause serious health complications for your dog from bleeding problems to respiratory and other organ failure. In sever cases, anaplasmosis in dogs is fatal.

How is Anaplasmosis diagnosed in dogs?

Anaplasmosis can be difficult to diagnose in dogs because its symptoms are vague and can be linked to many different diseases and conditions. Knowing where your dog has been recently and if they may have come into contact with ticks will be key in helping your vet determine whether or not your dog has anaplasmosis. 

When it comes to filling your veterinarian in on your dog's activities: the more information, the better. You should inform them where your dog has been that they may have come into contact with ticks, the symptoms your dog is experiencing and when they first appeared, Anaplasmosis usually takes anywhere between two and four weeks after an infected tick bite to become noticeable.

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?

Anaplasmosis is treatable in dogs using any number of antibiotics including Chloramphenicol, Minocycline, Doxycycline, and Tetracycline. You will usually be able to notice an improvement in your canine companion within 1 to 2 days of starting treatment. 

Can I prevent my dog from developing Anaplasmosis?

One of the most reliable ways to prevent anaplasmosis in your dog is by keeping them on parasite prevention medicine throughout the year. You can also help your family and your dog avoid all sorts of tick-borne illnesses by keeping your pup away from areas where ticks are likely to be (such as long grass or forests with thick underbrush). You should also make a habit of checking your dog every day for ticks so they can be removed promptly, and hopefully 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 you suspect your dog may have anaplasmosis or has come into extended contact with ticks recently, contact our knowledgeable team of veterinarians at West Chester Veterinary Medical Center. We have extensive experience helping pets and pet parents with tick borne illnesses and diseases like anaplasmosis. 

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