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Pet Bucket Blog

Anaplasmosis in Dogs

 by james on 11 Oct 2022 |
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Anaplasmosis in Dogs
 
Numerous factors make finding a tick on your dog upsetting. The tick's first drawback is that it can be upsetting, especially if it has been feeding for a while and is engorged like a bloodsucking raisin. More significantly, ticks can transmit a number of diseases to both dogs and people. While Lyme disease is well-known to many, anaplasmosis is a lesser-known but serious tick-borne illness that can affect both you and your dog.
 
What Is Anaplasmosis?
 
There are two types of anaplasmosis, a bacterial illness that affects dogs:
 
White blood cells are affected by Anaplasma phagocytophilium (this is the form that is also found in people).
Platelets, which are essential for blood coagulation, become contaminated by Anaplasma platys in dogs.
Because the tick species that transmits the disease is widespread throughout the United States and Canada, anaplasma can be found there as well. The Gulf states, California, the upper Midwest, the southwestern states, and the mid-Atlantic regions have the highest rates of canine anaplasmosis.
 
The incidence of anaplasmosis will likely follow the deer tick's expanding range in 2022, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC). The most positive cases are most likely to occur in the Northeast and upper Midwest. In several areas of Virginia, West Virginia, and Texas, CAPC also predicts a high number of positive anaplasma infections.
 
How Is Anaplasmosis spread?
 
The brown dog tick is the main carrier of Anaplasma platys. Both the western black-legged tick and the deer tick can transmit Anaplasma phagocytophilium. It is typical for dogs to have various tick-borne illnesses including ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Lyme disease co-infected since the deer tick and the western black-legged tick are also disease vectors. There is no proof that dogs can spread the Anaplasma bacterium to people directly.
 
Dogs, cats, and humans are just a few of the many mammals that might contract anaplasmosis globally. A is believed to be stored in rodents. Dogs are thought to be the A reservoir, and phagocytophilum. platys. While mammals serve as the reservoir in both situations, ticks serve as the route of transmission. 
 
Which Signs and Symptoms Indicate Anaplasmosis?
 
Usually, one to two weeks after the initial tick bite and transmission, symptoms appear. The symptoms varies depending on which of the two primary anaplasmosis species has infected the dog since they affect certain types of cells differently.
 
Anaplasmosis most frequently occurs as a result of A. phagocytophilium. Since most symptoms are generalized and non-specific, it might be challenging to diagnose a condition because there isn't one specific symptom that immediately raises suspicion. The most frequently mentioned symptoms in humans include fever, headache, chills, and muscle soreness. We are only able to describe the symptoms of canine anaplasmosis based on what we can witness, though we can predict how affected animals may feel. Listed indicators include:
 
Inactivity and joint discomfort
Lethargy
Inappetence
Fever
Coughing, convulsions, vomiting, and diarrhea are less prevalent.
 
Blood clotting is impacted by A. platys' infection of platelets. As a result, symptoms of this type of anaplasmosis include nosebleeds, bruises, and red spots on the abdomen and gums. These symptoms are caused by the body's inability to appropriately stop bleeding.
 
How Is Anaplasmosis Diagnosed?
 
Your dog's physical examination and a thorough medical history will be taken in the first step by your veterinarian. If your veterinarian has a clinical suspicion of anaplasmosis, they may also recommend a number of tests. All pets who have a history of tick exposure, reside in an area where ticks are common, and exhibit the necessary symptoms are regarded as at risk.
 
The initial stage in evaluating the blood's blood cells and platelets is a blood examination. Under a microscope, the creature may occasionally be recognized, but laboratory tests are more precise. These assays include PCR, IFA (indirect fluorescent antibody), and ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay) (polymerase chain reaction).
 
Treatment Options for Anaplasmosis
 
Doxycycline, an antibiotic, can be used to treat anaplasmosis. The better the outcome, the sooner in the course of the disease the treatment is started. Although recovery is frequently noticed during the first few days of medication, the majority of dogs receive treatment for 14–30 days.
 
It is crucial to finish the entire course of antibiotics, even if your dog's condition has clinically improved. For dogs who have received a complete course of treatment, the long-term outlook is great. Any dogs may continue to test positive for anaplasmosis even after receiving treatment and appearing to be clinically healthy; it is unknown if some dogs become permanent carriers without displaying clinical symptoms of the illness.
How Can I Avoid Anaplasmosis?
 
The best defense includes rigorous tick defense. Treatments for "natural" tick avoidance are typically ineffective, particularly in locations where the disease is extremely endemic. To best meet your dog's needs, a wide range of efficient topical drugs, oral meds, and tick collars are available; speak with your veterinarian to see which option is right for you.
 
Every day, examine your dog for ticks, being sure to look in the armpits, between the toes, under the collar, and behind the ears. Search for lumps in your dog's fur using your fingers. Ticks range in size from a pinhead to a grape; while often dark brown or black, they eventually turn grey after becoming attached and feeding for some time. Tweezers or a tick-removal tool should be used to grasp the tick closely to the skin. Put the tick in alcohol or flush it down the toilet to get rid of it.
 
It is not typical in veterinary medicine to use doxycycline as a preventative measure following a tick bite. Only dogs who are clinically unwell and have tested positive for the anaplasma bacterium will receive antibiotic treatment. However, several research facilities examine ticks for the presence of illnesses like Lyme and anaplasma. You can thus send the tick to these labs once it has been removed to find out if it is carrying any dangerous diseases.
 
Anaplasmosis is an important disease of dogs and is being diagnosed more frequently across the country, while not receiving the same attention as other tick-borne illnesses like Lyme and ehrlichiosis. It's crucial to keep in mind that a dog with one tick-borne disease may also have another due to the common vector.
 
The good news is that there is effective medication available, even though the best approach to keep your pet safe is to prevent transmission through thorough tick control. Inform your veterinarian right away if you believe your pet may have been exposed to a tick-borne illness so that they can get your dog back on track.

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