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Anaplasmosis in Dogs… Important Tips for Treatment

Anaplasmosis is one of those scary medical conditions that can not only affect your beloved pet; it can also affect you!  This is why, if you enjoy spending a lot of time outdoors with your dog, you should certainly familiarize yourself with:

  • What anaplasmosis is?
  • How it’s contracted?
  • And what symptoms are associated with the disease?

What is Anaplasmosis?

Anaplasmosis is one of many tick-borne diseases prevalent in the continental United States.  The vast majority will be caused by the Anaplama phagocytophilum bacterium carried by the deer tick known as the Western Black-legged tick.

This is also the same deer tick believed to be responsible for transmitting the more serious bacterial infection known as Lyme disease (caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium).


If you or your dog have contracted anaplasmosis, you will want to be more careful in the future so that you don’t hire a more severe condition such as Lyme disease.

How is Anaplasmosis contracted?

As with many other vector-borne diseases anaplasmosis is transmitted by the infected tick to its host through a bite.  So, in most situations, your dog was either in the yard or off on a walk and managed to get in a bit of “wilderness” where an infected tick was living.

From there, it’s just a matter of time before the tick bites you or your dog, and now you’re a carrier of the disease yourself.

Symptoms of Anaplasmosis or clinical signs of an infected dog…

Symptoms will likely include:
  • Fatigue.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Vomiting and or diarrhea.
  • Joint pain or stiffness.
  • Fever.

The excellent news is…

Once the condition has been diagnosed and recognized, your veterinarian will typically prescribe a round of treatment using the antibiotic doxycycline.  Doxycycline is highly effective in treating anaplasmosis so most patients will see a significant improvement in their condition within a day or two.

The bad news is…

That it’s not always that easy to diagnose anaplasmosis because some dogs may not exhibit symptoms of the disease for several months after being infected and even then, once they do begin showing signs of illness, these symptoms could suggest any number of possible causes other than anaplasmosis.

This is why…

Your veterinarian will likely have to order a series of tests to make an accurate diagnosis before determining the cause of your pet’s illness.

These tests will likely include:
  • Blood work exams may indicate a reduced level of blood platelets and some abnormal white blood cells, which are clear markers for infection.

That said, however, the best method of diagnosing anaplasmosis is to perform either an indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) testing which will identify antibodies within the bloodstream of those infected with anaplasmosis or administer an ELISA or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test.

Now at this point…

We like to take a moment and remind folks that we here at InsureYourPet are not medical professionals, and we’re certainly not veterinarians.  All we are is a bunch of folks with a passion for animals.  So, if your dog is exhibiting symptoms of exposure to anaplasmosis or is just acting a bit “odd, ” by all means, take your pet to the VET!  The last thing you want to do is put your pet’s health at risk because you read something online!

This brings us to…

Why we here at IndugleYourPet write articles like these?  The first reason is that we try to help our readers learn a little bit more about many of the health conditions their pets may encounter throughout their life.  But it’s also to stress the importance of just how fragile all life is and point out that even if you have a healthy pet, purchasing a pet insurance policy may still be a good idea.

After all…

Healthy pets encounter ticks all the time.  And if the difference between having a healthy pet and one that could require hundreds of dollars in medical bills is simply one tick bite away, wouldn’t you want the added protection something like an affordable pet insurance policy could provide?

For more information about who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies in the industry, we encourage you to check out our:  Best Pet Insurance Companies article.


In cases like these where an aggressive tick control program is being followed, actual contraction of the disease could be avoided entirely, which is why we would certainly encourage you to take a look at our Top 10 Best Flea and Tick Medications article where we highlight so of the pros and cons of some of the best products on the market right now.

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