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Tick Borne Diseases - Anaplasmosis in Dogs

Anaplasmosis is one of many tick-borne diseases that endanger the health of humans, pets, and other animals across the United States. In today's post, our Trooper Veterinary Hospital veterinarians explain the symptoms of Anaplasmosis in dogs and how to treat it.

What is Anaplasmosis in dogs?

Anaplasmosis is a disease caused by the bacteria Anaplasma phagocytophilum, which is spread through the bite of infected ticks. This potentially fatal condition can be found in dogs throughout the United States, with the Midwest, West Coast, and Northeast reporting the highest rates of the disease.

Is there such thing as asymptomatic anaplasmosis in dogs?

It is common for dogs infected with Anaplasmosis to show no symptoms at all (asymptomatic), but when symptoms do appear, they are similar to severe flu. If your dog has Anaplasmosis, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

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

If your dog is showing any of the symptoms listed above a trip to the vet is essential. Undiagnosed anaplasmosis in Dogs can lead to serious health complications. Long-term effects of anaplasmosis in dogs include respiratory failure, organ failure, and bleeding issues. In very severe cases, Anaplasmosis can be fatal for dogs.

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How is Anaplasmosis in dogs diagnosed?

Anaplasmosis can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are generally vague and can point to other common diseases in dogs. Knowing where your dog has been and whether he or she has come into contact with infected ticks can assist your veterinarian in accurately diagnosing your dog's condition.

Provide your veterinarian with as much information as possible about where your dog may have come into contact with the ticks, the symptoms your pet is experiencing, and when the symptoms first appeared. Anaplasmosis symptoms usually appear 2 to 4 weeks after being bitten by an infected tick.

If your veterinarian suspects that your dog is infected with Anaplasmosis, he or she will perform a full physical exam to look for signs of the disease as well as ticks that may be living on your dog. If your dog tests positive for the Anaplasma phagocytophilum bacteria, your vet may also perform an antibody test.

What is the treatment for dogs with Anaplasmosis?

Anaplasmosis treatment in dogs is usually a simple course of antibiotics such as minocycline, chloramphenicol, doxycycline, or tetracycline. Most dogs will show a noticeable improvement as soon as 24- 48 hours of starting antibiotic treatment and anaplasmosis in dogs should go away by then. But be sure to stick, exactly, to the treatment plan your vet lays out.

How can I prevent my dog from getting Anaplasmosis?

One of the most dependable ways to help prevent Anaplasmosis in dogs is to keep your pet on tick prevention medications or treatments all year. However, no tick prevention medication is guaranteed to protect your dog from tick-borne diseases, so caution is advised.

Keep your dog away from areas where ticks are most likely to hide (long grass and brush), and check your dog for ticks daily so that they can be removed before transmission occurs.

If you discover a tick on your dog, you must remove it properly. Call your veterinarian to learn how to remove ticks in a way that prevents the spread of Anaplasmosis and other tick-borne diseases. 

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 could have Anaplasmosis? Contact us today to book an examination for your pup.

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Trooper Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients in Norristown. Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of your animal companions. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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