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Anaplasmosis in Dogs

Anaplasmosis in Dogs

When we think of ticks and tick-borne diseases, we usually only think of Lyme disease. Did you know that there are other serious conditions that can be caused by ticks such as anaplasmosis? Today our Nashua vets talk about anaplasmosis in dogs, the symptoms you may see and how it can be treated.

What is anaplasmosis in dogs and how is it contracted?

Anaplasmosis is caused by 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 anaplasmosis symptoms in dogs?

While some dogs have no signs of anaplasmosis, others may show a range of symptoms, many of which resemble the flu. 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

Will canine anaplasmosis go away on its own?

If your dog begins to show any of the symptoms of anaplasmosis you should bring them to see a vet as soon as possible. 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 will my vet diagnose anaplasmosis in my dog?

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 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.

Are there any ways to prevent dogs from contracting anaplasmosis?

Preventive tick medication given throughout the year can go a long way in preventing your pup from being affected by tick-borne diseases. 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 your dog is showing any of the listed signs of anaplamosis please contact our vets at Animal Medical Center of New England in Nashua.

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