Last Week: HOW TO Treat Your Dog’s Tick Bite Paralysis
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 dogillnesses.com, “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:
Dogs can become depressed, will not eat well and will be reluctant to move
Painful joints can shift from leg to leg and they may cry when they try to move
Other signs of infection include:
Some possible symptoms include:
Seizures and other brain disorders
Liver and kidney damage with the infection
Bleeding disorders that show up as nosebleeds
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 dogillnesses.com, “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 or 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.
Bestfriendsvet.com 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, capcvet.org recommends the following:
Routine application of effective tick/flea control agents is critical for preventing infection and disease caused by these organisms.
Because tick activity may occur year-round and dogs may travel to areas where ticks are active, capcvet.org recommends that all dogs be on tick-control products throughout the year.
Ticks should be removed right away to prevent transmission of any pathogens they may harbor.
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.
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.