Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne disease caused by Anaplasma bacteria. It primarily affects white blood cells and can lead to various symptoms in dogs.
There are two main types: Anaplasma phagocytophilum (causing granulocytic anaplasmosis) and Anaplasma platys (causing thrombocytic anaplasmosis).
Causes Transmission occurs through tick bites. Common ticks include Ixodes scapularis (black-legged or deer tick) and Rhipicephalus sanguineus (brown dog tick).
Dogs of all ages and breeds can be affected. Outdoor and hunting dogs are
at higher risk due to tick exposure.
Concurrent Conditions Anaplasmosis can be concurrent with other tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease. Many animals are bitten by more than one tick, and ticks may carry more than one infectious agent.
Anaplasma bacteria infect white blood cells, leading to immune system activation and inflammation.
Clinical Signs - Early Stages Fever, Lethargy, muscle / joint pain, decreased appetite
Clinical Signs - Later Stages
Lameness, severe joint pain, neurological signs, bleeding disorders
Complete Blood Count, Biochemistry with electrolytes, Anaplasma PCR,
Slide Agglutination Test to start with. Radiographs / Ultrasound of chest and abdomen or joints may be recommended based on signs. CT scan or MRI and a spinal tap for collection of CSF may be considered when neurological signs are present. Paired tests for antibodies again Anaplasmosis 2-3 weeks apart may be recommended.
Challenges in Diagnosis
Clinical signs overlap with other diseases; multiple tick-borne infections may occur simultaneously. Clinical signs may develop months to years after the original infection.
Alleviate symptoms, relieve inflammation, eradicate or suppress bacteria
Anaplasmosis is manageable with antibiotics.
Complete Recovery vs Symptom Control
Treatment aims to control symptoms; complete eradication of the bacteria might not always occur.
Doxycycline is commonly prescribed; follow your veterinarian's instructions. Give with food. Give 3-10 ml of water by oral syringe slowly from side of the mouth to prevent esophagitis. Side effects to monitor for include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea.
Anti-inflammatories & pain medications to alleviate joint stiffness that may come with these infections. Give with food. Side effects to monitor for include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea.
Store medications in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.
Medicine Handling Wear gloves when handling medications; wash hands afterward. Likely Side Effects Possible side effects include gastrointestinal upset and photosensitivity. Side
effects to monitor for include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea. Common Complications Joint problems, chronic pain, recurrent infections.
Kidney disease, severe bleeding disorders Worst Complications Untreated severe cases might lead to organ failure and death. Effect on Lifespan
Timely treatment usually results in a normal lifespan. Signs of Recovery
Decreased fever, improved appetite, increased energy with in 48-72 hours.
A consultation with Complete Blood Count, Biochemistry with electrolytes, Anaplasma PCR, Slide Agglutination Test as follow up is recommended in most cases after 4 weeks of discontinuation of antibiotics. The frequency of visits depends on the severity and clinical manifestations of the disease. Likelihood of Early detection and treatment lead to better outcomes; advanced cases require intensive care. Recurrence Dogs can be re-infected if exposed to infected ticks. Signs to Watch Out For
Persistent lameness, lethargy, recurrent fever. Regular Monitoring Tests
A consultation with Complete Blood Count, Biochemistry with electrolytes, Anaplasma PCR, Slide Agglutination Test as follow up is recommended in most cases every 4-6 months or earlier starting from when tests are normal.
Maintain a balanced diet to support the immune system during recovery.
Possible side effects include gastrointestinal upset and photosensitivity. Side
effects to monitor for include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea. Prevention
Use tick preventatives year-round. Check your dog for ticks after outdoor activities. Avoid tick-infested areas.
Anaplasmosis can't be directly transmitted from pets to humans, but shared tick exposure can lead to separate infections in both.
This is a generalized information handout. Always consult your veterinarian for personalized advice and care for your pet.
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