Anaplasmosis in Dogs
Recently, I have been seeing an increasing number of dogs being diagnosed in my clinic with anaplasmosis.
Anaplasmosis is a tickborne disease caused by the infectious organism Anaplasma phagocytophilum. It is transmitted through tick bites.
What are the clinical signs of anaplasmosis?
Infection with A. phagocytophilum, often causes lameness, joint pain, fever, lethargy, and not eating (anorexia). Most infected dogs will have symptoms for one to seven days; however, some will have no or only minor symptoms. Less common clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing, and laboured breathing. Rarely, neurological signs such as seizures have been reported.
Infection with anaplasma can cause cyclic thrombocytopenia, a condition in which there is a periodic decrease in platelets (circulating cells that help in the blood clotting process). Clinical disease is often mild, but some dogs may develop bruising or bleeding (including nosebleeds), especially during the early stages of infection when platelet counts may be at their lowest.
Dogs with anaplasmosis often have many of the same symptoms as those with ehrlichiosis (tick fever), and infection with both agents (co-infection) is not uncommon.
How is it treated, and what is the prognosis?
The treatment for canine anaplasmosis is the same as that for other closely related tick-borne infections, including ehrlichiosis. The antibiotic doxycycline is the treatment of choice. Many infected dogs are treated for 21 days. In the majority of cases, symptoms improve rapidly. Dogs are often markedly better 24 to 48 hours after therapy is begun, and the prognosis for clinical recovery is excellent.
Can I get anaplasmosis from my dog?
A. phagocytophilum is considered a zoonotic pathogen. This means it has the potential to infect humans. However, direct transmission from animals to people or animal to animal is highly unlikely and has not been documented.
If a dog is diagnosed with anaplasmosis, strict tick control measures should be taken.
If a dog is diagnosed with anaplasmosis, this indicates there are infected ticks in the environment that could transmit the disease to humans, and strict tick control measures should be taken.