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About Anaplasmosis in Dogs

Your pet's health can be put at serious risk due to tick-borne diseases. Anaplasmosis is one disease spread by black-legged ticks. In this post, our Johns Creek vets list symptoms of and treatments for anaplasmosis in dogs. 

What is anaplasmosis in dogs?

A bacteria called Anaplasma phagocytophilum causes anaplasmosis, which is spread by the bite of an infected black-legged deer tick (which is also responsible for the spread of Lyme disease) or brown dog tick. While this potentially serious condition can be found across the United States, higher rates of the disease are reported in the Northeast, West Coast and Midwest. 

What are the symptoms of anaplasmosis?

While some dogs with anaplasmosis display no symptoms at all, the most common signs are similar to what you'd see with severe flu. If your dog has anaplasmosis, you may notice one or more of these symptoms:

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

Does anaplasmosis go away in dogs?

If your dog is showing any symptoms listed above, it's important to book an examination with your vet. 

Left untreated, anaplasmosis can lead to serious health complications for your dog including organ failure, bleeding problems and respiratory failure. Anaplasmosis can be fatal for dogs with very severe cases.

How is anaplasmosis diagnosed in dogs?

Diagnosing Ananplasmosis 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.

Can I prevent my dog from developing Anaplasmosis?

One of the most reliable ways to help prevent Anaplasmosis in dogs is by keeping your pet on tick prevention medication year-round. 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.

Are you concerned about your dog's health and suspect that they may have been exposed to Anaplasmosis through a tick bite? Contact Johns Creek Veterinary Clinic today for testing for anaplasmosis and other tick-borne diseases.

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