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Anaplasmosis in Dogs, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Anaplasmosis in Dogs, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne disease seen across the US that can infect humans, canines, and many farm animals. In today's blog our Charlotte vets share the causes, symptoms and treatment for this potentially serious condition.

Anaplasmosis in Dogs

Anaplasmosis is caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum and is spread to humans, dogs and farm animals by the black-legged deer tick (which is also responsible for the spread of Lyme disease). The brown dog tick can spread a different form of the disease to dogs.

Anaplasmosis is found across the US but higher rates of the illness are reported in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast.

Symptoms of Anaplasmosis

While not all dogs infected with Anaplasmosis show symptoms, the most common signs are much like flu symptoms but often more severe and may include:

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

If your dog is showing signs of Anaplasmosis be sure to book an appointment with your veterinarian. Left untreated Anaplasmosis can lead to serious health complications for your dog including respiratory failure, organ failure, bleeding problems, and in severe cases can be fatal.

How is Anaplasmosis diagnosed in dogs?

Because the symptoms of this condition are somewhat vague and can occur as a result of many diseases, knowing where your dog has been and whether your dog may have come in contact with infected ticks can help your vet with the diagnosis process.

When you take your dog in to see the vet be sure to supply your veterinarian with as much information as possible about where your dog may have been in contact with the ticks, symptoms that your dog has been displaying, and when the symptoms began appearing. Symptoms of Anaplasmosis in dogs typically appear between 2-4 weeks after being bitten.

If your vet suspects that your dog may be suffering from Anaplasmosis they will perform a full physical examination looking for signs of the disease, and any ticks that may be living on your dog. Your vet may also run an antibody test to determine if your dog tests positive for the bacteria. While testing positive for the bacteria does not mean that your dog has the disease, it does indicate that your dog has been in contact with it. 

What is the treatment for Anaplasmosis in dogs?

Anaplasmosis in dogs can be treated with a course of antibiotics, with most symptoms improving within 24- 48 hours after beginning treatment. Some common antibiotics used to treat Anaplasmosis include, Doxycycline, Minocycline, Tetracycline, and Chloramphenicol.

Can I prevent my dog from developing Anaplasmosis?

The most reliable ways to help prevent Anaplasmosis in dogs is through keeping your dog on tick prevention medications year round, avoiding walking through 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 effectively removed before transmission occurs.

If your dog is showing signs of Anaplasmosis contact your vet to book an examination for your dog. If your pet is experiencing a medical emergency outside of your regular vet's hours contact us. At Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Charlotte, our compassionate and experienced team of veterinarians and board-certified specialists act as an extension of your regular veterinarian.

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Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Charlotte accepts all clients for our 24/7 emergency service. Our specialty services accepts new clients by referral only.

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