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dog anaplasmosis

Anaplasmosis in Dogs

Anaplasmosis is one of many diseases transmitted to dogs by ticks. Dogs, humans and even some farm animals can all contract this disease and, unfortunately, it seems to be on the rise in the United States (as do ticks, in general!). Read more about the cause, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Anaplasmosis in dogs here.

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Cause of Anaplasmosis in Dogs

Anaplasmosis phagocytophilum, the organism which causes Anaplasmosis is found in primarily the black-legged or “deer” tick. This is the same tick that carries the bacteria responsible for causing Lyme’s disease. The typical “brown dog tick” can also spread a different form of the disease to dogs. For a helpful tick identification chart click here.

Symptoms of Anaplasmosis in Dogs

Not all dogs infected with Anaplasmosis show symptoms. However, the most common signs (which usually occur a week or two after a tick bite) include flu-like symptoms. Other possible signs of Anaplasmosis infection include:

  • Lethargy
  • Joint pain or reluctance to move
  • Generalized discomfort
  • Fever
  • Anorexia (not wanting to eat)
  • Limping
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Bloody nose

Diagnosis and Treatment of Anaplasmosis in Dogs

Anaplasmosis can oftentimes be a difficult disease to diagnose as the symptoms can be somewhat vague. Most veterinarians will screen for the antibodies to Anaplasmosis at the same time they perform the annual heartworm blood test. If positive, the screening test only indicates that the dog has been exposed to the bacteria, not necessarily that the dog is infected.

When symptoms are present along with a positive test result, however, veterinarians will most likely prescribe a course of antibiotics. After treatment, many dogs may remain persistently positive for months to years as the test looks for the presence of Anaplasmosis antibodies.

Prevention of Anaplasmosis in Dogs

As in many aspects of life, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The best way to avoid tick-borne diseases such as Anaplasmosis is to use a veterinarian-recommended flea and tick preventative medication year-round. You can also decrease your dog’s risks of developing Anaplasmosis by avoiding walking/hiking in areas where ticks are likely to be found. If you are in an area where ticks are prevalent, perform thorough “tick checks” daily and especially after walking, hiking, or playing outside.

If you’re worried about your dog experiencing any of these symptoms always contact a vet for advice.

Read more:

Tick Talk - Small Animals and Tick Control

How to Apply “Spot On” Medication to Your Dog or Cat

16 Summer Dangers for Dogs

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