Dear pet parents, it’s time for us to talk about a type of bacteria known as Anaplasma phagocytophilum. With a range of vague symptoms and no apparent obvious cause, anaplasmosis, the disease that this bacterium causes, can be very difficult to pick up on. With potential neurological symptoms and a great deal of discomfort for your pet, it’s a good idea to keep your eyes peeled for the warning signs, especially during tick seasons!
That’s why I’m going to share with you everything you need to know about this doggy disease: anaplasmosis. Let’s get right to it.
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- What is Anaplasmosis in Dogs
- What Are the Symptoms of Anaplasmosis in Dogs
- Is Anaplasmosis in Dogs Contagious
- How is Anaplasmosis in Dogs Treated
What is Anaplasmosis in Dogs
You’ve probably heard of Lyme disease, but have you heard of anaplasmosis? Just like Lyme disease, it’s a tick-borne bacterial infection that’s caused by bites from two infected tick species:
- Western black-legged tick;
- Blacklegged tick (deer tick).
According to the CDC study, the Western black-legged tick is a concern if you live on or around the Pacific coast of the USA. The deer tick is an issue for those living in the Midwest, specifically in the upper and northeastern states.
What Are the Symptoms of Anaplasmosis in Dogs
For the most part, tick bites are virtually painless, so your dog probably won’t be aware of what’s happened. It’s important to give yourself and your pet(s) the once-over when you get in from a woodland walk or other tick territory. Constant monitoring of your pet is essential for pinpointing odd and unusual symptoms early on, and pet tech, such as pet cameras, has made that much, much easier.
According to experts, a tick must stay attached to the skin of your dog for a minimum of 24 hours for the transmission of the anaplasmosis-causing bacteria to occur. This gives you plenty of time to get home, check your pup’s coat and skin, and get rid of any hangers.
Symptoms of anaplasmosis usually start from one to fourteen days after a bite from an infected tick, with symptoms lasting for a maximum of seven to nine days. Some dogs experience no or minimal symptoms when infected.
Common symptoms of anaplasmosis in dogs include:
- No interest in food or treats;
- Drinking more or less;
- Increased sleeping and tiredness;
- Grumpiness and snappy/aggressive behavior (a sign of pain);
- Limping or moving abnormally;
- Changes to eye appearance: glassy or red*;
- Excessive panting*;
- Coughing or wheezing*;
- Excessive wetness or running of the nose*;
- Visibly shaking/shivering*.
*signs of a fever in dogs
In serious and rare cases, anaplasmosis can cause your pup to bleed from the nose, experience severe pain in the neck region, and even potentially fall into seizures. It is also possible for them to become infected with both anaplasmosis and Lyme disease-causing bacteria at the same time.
Is Anaplasmosis in Dogs Contagious
Thankfully, one dog with anaplasmosis can’t give it to another dog, even when they spend all of their time together nearby. The tick can bite and infect other mammals, though. These include:
Your dog or cat can pick up a tick on their journeys outside, and then bring it into the home. Once inside, it can bite you and other humans or pets in the home, spreading the bacteria. Ticks can also carry and transmit other organisms that can cause harm to health, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis, amongst others.
Use pet cameras, physical monitoring, and regular skin and fur checks to keep ticks at bay. If you notice excess licking or scratching in one area, particularly after a period of time in a potential high-risk tick area, take a closer look. Excess scratching is an early sign of a tick latching on.
How is Anaplasmosis in Dogs Treated
Just as with other bacterial infections in humans and pets alike, anaplasmosis is usually treated with a course of antibiotics. Some dogs don’t need treatment, especially those that don’t present with symptoms.
How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment
In rare and very serious cases of anaplasmosis in dogs, seizures can occur. Seizures that last for more than two or three minutes are an urgent medical emergency, as are clusters of seizures. Uncontrollable seizures can also cause irreparable, irreversible, and serious damage to the brain.
Everyone here at Petcube hopes that your pet never requires it, but the Emergency Fund can provide support when you need it the most. You can talk to a trained vet at any time of the day or night, allowing you to find answers and, in turn, peace of mind. Signing up for the Fund also unlocks $3,000 of emergency veterinary care for your pet, regardless of their age, breed, or medical history.
It’ll cost you less than $1 per day, but I’d like to offer you a little something extra to say thanks for being a loyal blog reader. Use this link to find more information and get a bonus of 27% off the subscription cost! Thank you from everyone here at Petcube. Give your pets a little scratch or a pet from us, please.
Can you prevent anaplasmosis in dogs?
Technically, yes. But also, technically, no. Tick prevention treatments help to keep the actual ticks at bay, but they don’t prevent your pooch from getting infected with the bacteria should one of the pesky critters get through the preventative barrier. There isn’t a vaccination or other type of preventative treatment for anaplasmosis specifically.
Can dogs get anaplasmosis more than once?
Yes, they can. Your dog can become infected, get treated, and then become infected again. (In some cases, without you ever knowing a thing about it.) Preventative measures, such as collars, topical treatments, and edible treatments, can keep risks low. Avoiding areas prone to ticks, keeping your backyard clean and free of overgrown grass or plants, and regularly checking your pets will also go a long way.
Thankfully, anaplasmosis is somewhat preventable, easily treatable, and doesn’t even cause symptoms in many cases. It’s always better to prevent than cure, however, especially when you consider the potential for seizures, other neurological issues, and even death.
Keep your eyes on your pets, parents! The sooner you find a tick, the sooner you can remove it, and the anaplasmosis risks are removed.
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