Anaplasmosis in Dogs - What It Is, Symptoms, & How It's Treated

Anaplasmosis in Dogs - What It Is, Symptoms, & How It's Treated

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

What 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 symptoms 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 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. 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.

Provide your veterinarian with as much information as possible regarding where your dog may have been in contact with the ticks, the symptoms your dog is displaying, and when the symptoms first began. 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 is the treatment for Anaplasmosis in dogs?

Anaplasmosis in dogs can be treated with a course of an antibiotic such as Doxycycline, Minocycline, Tetracycline, or Chloramphenicol. Most dogs show an improvement within 24- 48 hours after beginning the antibiotic treatment.

Can I prevent my dog from developing Anaplasmosis?

One of the most reliable ways to help prevent Anaplasmosis in dogs is by keeping your pet on tick prevention meds year round. 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 checking your dog daily for ticks 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 you are concerned about your dog's health and need urgent veterinary care visit the animal emergency hospital at Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Greensboro. Our vets are here to help sick and injured pets 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Contact us for more information.

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