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Anaplasmosis in Dogs

Anaplasmosis in Dogs

Anaplasmosis in dogs is a tick-borne illness that is not common but does happen. It can be deadly for your dog if it's not treated quickly. If you are worried about this, get your dog vaccinated against anaplasmosis! 

We all love our furry friends and want to make sure they're healthy and happy, which is why we do everything in our power to keep them safe from harm. Unfortunately, there are still some illnesses out there that will affect any animal with an immune system. Anaplasmosis is one of these diseases, so keep reading to find out more information about this scary illness so you can help protect your pup!

What is Anaplasmosis?

Anaplasmosis is an infectious disease caused by Anaplasma phagocytophilum, a type of bacteria that belongs to the order Anaplasmataceae. Anaplasma phagocytophilum can infect both humans and animals. Anaplasmosis affects dogs worldwide, with the illness becoming increasingly widespread in the United States.

Anaplasmosis in dogs is a condition that is very similar to that of Lyme disease. Both are transmitted by ticks. One is more common in dogs than in humans. It can affect any sized dog but some breed-specific dog breeds are more susceptible. The most commonly affected animals are of small or medium size but it can affect dogs of any size or weight. The disease is typically diagnosed based on symptoms alone.

There are several symptoms to look out for when evaluating dogs for possible doxycycline infections. The first is fever, which can range from high fever to elevated temperature. It can also occur with other symptoms such as arthritis, a swollen lymph node or unexplained weight loss. If your canine experiences one or more of these symptoms, it would be wise to have them checked by a veterinarian.

Anaplasmosis in dogs can have two modes of treatment, acute and chronic. The acute phase occurs immediately after the tick bite. Dogs may show symptoms such as weakness, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and difficulty breathing at this point.

Acute anaplasmosis in dogs can be cured with antibiotics. Topical antigens can also be used. If there is a delay in treatment, there is a chance of developing secondary bacterial diseases such as Lyme disease. This is why it is very important to make sure your veterinarian is fully aware of any symptoms your pet might exhibit.

The longer you wait before consulting your veterinarian, the less chance you will have of completely eliminating the bacteria from your dog's system. The most common cause of anaplasmosis in dogs is a tick bite. If you notice symptoms on your dog immediately after being bitten by ticks, you should consult your vet. The first thing to do is get your dog tested for anaplasma phagocytophilum or simply anaplasmosis. Your vet will have a test for this in order to confirm that the symptoms your dog is exhibiting are indeed caused by this bacterial disease.

How is Anaplasmosis Transmitted?

Anaplasmosis is transmitted through tick bites, although other modes of transmission are possible. Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection may manifest as mild fever, anorexia, lethargy, or gastrointestinal. Signs include diarrhoea, vomiting, lethargy and fever. Anaplasma phagocytophilum is also known to cause hemolytic anaemia, which can cause heart issues.

What are the Symptoms of Anaplasmosis?

Symptoms of Anaplasmosis in dogs include:

- Lethargy

- Loss of appetite (anorexia)

- Fever or low fever (hypothermia)

- Skin discolouration (bluish hue on ears, gums, skin, etc.) due to Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection causes the death of erythrocytes and results in intravascular haemolysis. Anaplasma phagocytophilum thereby depletes stores of ATP and 2,3 DPG within erythrocytes which leads to impaired oxygen release by blood cells at the tissue level.

Anaplasma phagocytophilum can also cause anaemia by inhibiting erythropoiesis. Anaplasma phagocytophilum also inhibits the formation of dihydrofolic acid which is required for DNA synthesis in rapidly dividing blood cells. Anaplasma phagocytophilum is therefore mainly responsible for hemolytic anaemia, but may also cause non-immune mediated anaemia.

- Abnormal red blood cells (RBCs)

- Vomiting or diarrhoea

How is Anaplasmosis Diagnosed?

Anaplasmosis in dogs is diagnosed through Anaplasma phagocytophilum exposure history, clinical signs, and increased Anaplasma phagocytophilum antibody titers. Anaplasmosis can be managed by treating the symptoms of Anaplasmosis in dogs, though an Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection can be fatal in some cases. Anaplasmosis in dogs is a reportable disease to the World Organization for Animal Health.

Alarmed by Anaplasmosis's increasing prevalence in the United States, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health funded a study in 2016 to determine Anaplasmosis's impact on canine populations in New Jersey. The study found Anaplasmosis is widespread in the canine population of New Jersey, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum diversity in this population coincided with Anaplasmosis observed clinical signs. This suggests Anaplasma phagocytophilum diversity affects Anaplasmosis's severity in dogs, causing mild Anaplasmosis cases or severe Anaplasmosis cases.

Treatment Options for Anaplasmosis in Dogs

Anaplasmosis is a reportable disease to the World Organization for Animal Health, making Anaplasmosis a public health concern. Anaplasmosis treatments include antibiotics such as doxycycline and amoxicillin. Anaplasmosis in dogs typically responds well to treatment, with mild Anaplasma phagocytophilum cases exhibiting complete recovery within two weeks of antibiotic therapy. Anaplasmosis death has been documented but appears rare

How do I Prevent Anaplasmosis?

Anaplasma phagocytophilles thrive at the blood-air interface, which allows Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection by tick bites. To combat this occurrence, one should reduce exposure to ticks and practice tick-bite prevention. Anaplasmosis prevention may include administering vaccines, applying acaricides, and taking steps to reduce tick exposure.

Note: Anaplasma phagocytophilum is a bacterium in the Anaplasmataceae family that affects both humans and animals. Anaplasmosis is caused by Anaplasma phagocytophilum exposure, resulting in significant health issues for both species. Anaplasmosis can be treated but some cases are lethal if not addressed quickly enough. Anaplasmosis is reportable to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). 


If you suspect that your dog has anaplasmosis, it is important to take them in for a checkup as soon as possible. This disease can be treated with antibiotics and other medications like doxycycline or tetracyclines if caught early enough. We hope this blog post helped you better understand the signs of anaplasmosis in dogs and we look forward to helping you make sure your pet stays healthy!


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