Anaplasmosis is a disease that can easily be transmitted by ticks throughout the US. Today our Wake Forest vets talk about anaplasmosis and its symptoms in dogs as well as how it can be treated and prevented.

What is Anaplasmosis & How is it Transmitted?

Anaplasmosis is a disease caused by the anaplasma phagocytophilum bacteria which is spread by the bite of an infected tick. This potentially serious condition can be seen in pets across the US with higher rates of the disease are reported in the Midwest, West Coast and Northeast.

Anaplasmosis Symptoms in Dogs

While it is quite common for dogs experiencing anaplasmosis to be asymptomatic, it is known that when symptoms do occur they are similar to those of a severe flu. If your pup is suffering from anaplasmosis you may notice some 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

Anaplasmosis symptoms in dogs, if left untreated, can result in severe complications including respiratory failure, organ failure, and bleeding issues. In very severe cases, anaplasmosis symptoms in dogs can be life-threatening.

How Anaplasmosis in Dogs is Diagnosed

Diagnosing anaplasmosis can be challenging because the symptoms of this condition are typically vague and can indicate other common diseases in dogs. Knowing where your dog has been and whether your dog may have come in contact with infected ticks can help your vet accurately diagnose your pup's condition.

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 started to appear. Anaplasmosis symptoms in dogs generally become apparent 2 - 4 weeks after being bitten by an infected tick.

If your Wake Forest vet suspects that your pup 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 pup. Your vet may also run an antibody test to determine if your dog tests positive for the anaplasma phagocytophilum bacteria. 

How Anaplasmosis in Dogs is Treated

Anaplasmosis treatment in dogs is typically a course of an antibiotic such as minocycline, chloramphenicol, doxycycline, or tetracycline. Most dogs will show a noticeable improvement within 24- 48 hours of starting antibiotic treatment.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Contracting Anaplasmosis

One of the most reliable ways to help prevent anaplasmosis symptoms in dogs is by keeping your pet on year-round tick prevention medications or treatments. That said, no tick prevention medication is 100% guaranteed to protect your dog against tick-borne diseases so diligence is required. Keep your dog away from areas where ticks are most likely to be hiding (long grass and brush), and be sure to check your dog daily for ticks so that they can be removed before transmission occurs.

If you discover a tick on your dog then you should call your vet to learn how to remove ticks in a way that will help to avoid the spread of anaplasmosis or other serious 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.

If you are concerned that your dog is experiencing the symptoms of anaplasmosis please contact our Wake Forest vets at North Wake Animal Hospital today to schedule an examination for your pet.