HOW TO Treat Your Dog for Anaplasmosis, a Tick-Borne Disease

Last Week: HOW TO Treat Your Dog’s Tick Bite Paralysis

deer tick

Deer Tick

As if ticks weren’t bad enough, there’s a new tick-borne disease on the rise that is as serious as Lyme disease and it is called anaplasmosis. This disease can be severe and in some cases, deadly. The carrier of this nasty disease is the small black-legged tick, more commonly known as the deer tick.

According to, “Canine anaplasmosis is a disease caused by the bacteria Anaplasma phagocytophilum. The bacteria can be transmitted to your dog when he is bitten by a deer tick. Since deer ticks commonly carry other diseases, it is common for dogs with anaplasmosis to have numerous infections. One of the most common is canine Lyme disease.”

What are the Symptoms of Anaplasmosis?

If your dog has contracted anaplasmosis, the symptoms will present themselves within 1-14 days of being bitten. However, some dogs may not have symptoms until months later, although this is rare, as most dogs will show symptoms right away.

Lakeland Veterinary Hospital lists the following symptoms:

i Love Dogs High fever

i Love Dogs Lethargy

i Love Dogs Dogs can become depressed, will not eat well and will be reluctant to move

i Love Dogs Painful joints can shift from leg to leg and they may cry when they try to move

Other signs of infection include:

i Love Dogs Vomiting

i Love Dogs Diarrhea

i Love Dogs Neurologic signs

Some possible symptoms include:

i Love Dogs Seizures and other brain disorders

i Love Dogs Liver and kidney damage with the infection

i Love Dogs Bleeding disorders that show up as nosebleeds

i Love Dogs Bloody urine

i Love Dogs Severe bruising on the skin

“Some dogs may carry anaplasmosis but show no signs whatsoever. In these cases, the infection may eventually be cleared by the immune system or the pet may become sick down the road (especially with periods of stress),” Lakeland Veterinary Hospital said.

How is Anaplasmosis Diagnosed?

Unfortunately, it is not the easiest disease to diagnose. According to, “Diagnosing this condition can sometimes be difficult. Initially, a blood sample will be analyzed for the presence of the bacteria. A urinalysis is also useful since the disease can cause kidney damage. The veterinarian may also choose to do a complete blood count. This will check for abnormal amounts of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.”

Lakewood Veterinary Hospital says further, more specialized tests may be needed if the disease is hard to detect and the dog is still showing symptoms.

“In some cases we need to run special tests. These tests are sent to outside laboratories, which means there is a delay before we get results. One test that we may run is an antibody test, which tells us if the body has been exposed to anaplasmosis. The other available test is a DNA test that looks for Anaplasma DNA in the bloodstream. These tests are most helpful in difficult cases where we do not have a clear diagnosis on our initial blood work.”

What are the Treatments for Anaplasmosis?

If you dog has been diagnosed with anaplasmosis, your vet will prescribe antibodies to treat the disease. Most likely, your dog will have to take the antibiotics one to two times a day for a month ortick on dog longer to ensure that all the bacteria from anaplasmosis is killed off. In rare cases, and these mostly involve dogs with a low red blood cell count, a blood transfusion may be required as well as treatment for any damage the liver and kidneys may have incurred. says, “Oral administration of the antibiotic doxycycline every 12 hours for 14 to 28 days is effective. Depending on disease severity, supportive care such as blood transfusions may be needed. Affected dogs are often significantly improved within 24-48 hours of beginning the medication. Although a cure may occur, elimination of the bacteria is not possible in some infections; dogs may remain positive when blood samples are tested.”

What are Some Ways to Prevent Anaplasmosis?

To keep your dog from contracting anaplasmosis, recommends the following:

i Love Dogs Routine application of effective tick/flea control agents is critical for preventing infection and disease caused by these organisms.

i Love Dogs Because tick activity may occur year-round and dogs may travel to areas where ticks are active, recommends that all dogs be on tick-control products throughout the year.

i Love Dogs Ticks should be removed right away to prevent transmission of any pathogens they may harbor.

i Love Dogs Tick infestations and resultant infections can be prevented by avoiding tick-infested areas whenever possible, and by modifying the habitat around the home by keeping shrubbery and grass closely clipped to discourage both tick populations and the wildlife species that often harbor them from flourishing.

PHOTOS: Scott BauerBorislav Dopudja

Find A Vet HOW TO articles are intended for informational purposes only. You should always consult with your veterinarian about any health issues affecting your dog.

Sonya Simpkins

Sonya Simpkins is a contributing writer for i Love Dogs, Inc. In her spare time, she loves to take her dogs for long hikes and treks to the beach, out to eat and on long road trips across the county. She then turns those adventures into useful advice for other dog parents who also love to take their dogs with them wherever they go.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:

Category : Fight Parasites &FLEAS AND TICKS &HOW TO

The Dog Park   


About Us is the nation’s premiere website for pet parents looking to find quality veterinary care for their dogs in their area. This extensive website also provides animal lovers with information on dog care, advice, information about veterinarians, health-related news and how-to articles that bring timely and pertinent health information to pet parents. Find A Vet’s comprehensive directory of veterinary clinics, hospitals and specialists allows pet parents to find dog-care professionals quickly and easily.


  • Dog-Friendly Establishments
  • I Love Dogs
  • i Love Dogs Diamonds
  • Shop ILD Store
  • TJ

© 2011 Find A Vet  All right reserved.  |   Terms & Conditions  |   Privacy Policy  |   Contact Us  |   About Us  |   Sitemap

Powered by i Love Dogs, Inc.

Send to Friend

Email Author: