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What is anaplasmosis in dogs? How is it treated?

Our Ambler vets are seeing increasing numbers of tick-borne diseases in dogs including Anaplasmosis. Today we look at the symptoms of anaplasmosis, possible long-term effects and how dogs with this potentially serious disease can be treated.

What is Anaplasmosis in dogs?

Anaplasmosis is a potentially serious condition 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 condition is seen in dogs can 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's important that you take your dog to the vet for an exam if they are showing any of the symptoms listed above. Anaplasmosis is treatable but if left untreated, can cause serious complications for your dog's health, including respiratory failure, bleeding issues and organ problems.

In severe cases, anaplasmosis may even be fatal in our beloved pets.

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.

Provide your vet 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 vet 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?

Our vets believe that one of the best ways to help to prevent your dog from contracting anaplasmosis is by keeping your pet on tick prevention medication all throughout the year. You can also help your dog to avoid contracting diseases carried by ticks by keeping them away from the kinds of areas where ticks thrive.

It's also a good idea to check your dog every day for ticks so they can be removed before any transmission occurs, and keep the grass in your yard short to avoid attracting ticks to areas where your pet plays.

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.

Do you think that your dog might have anaplasmosis? Contact Spring House Animal Hospital to book an examination for your four-legged friend.

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