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Anaplasmosis in dogs: symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention

Anaplasmosis in dogs can be extremely serious and even fatal if left untreated. It is one of the diseases transmitted by certain ticks. It is very important to consult a veterinarian if the dog is not eating well and is generally unwell. Let's take a look at anaplasmosis in dogs, its symptoms, its exact cause, its treatment, and let's see if it is possible to prevent this disease.

Anaplasmosis in dogs: symptoms

Dog anaplasmosis or granulocytic anaplasmosis can cause some of the following symptoms.
  • Fever (body temperature over 39°C)
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia),
  • Increased thirst (the dog drinks more than before),
  • Weight loss,
  • Water retention leading to edema of some subcutaneous tissues,
  • Anemia,
  • Discoloration of the mucous membranes,
  • Inflammation of the uvea (uveitis),
  • Coughing,
  • State of depression,
  • Lethargy,
  • Petechiae (subcutaneous hemorrhages),
  • Lameness of unknown cause,
  • Joint pain,
  • Polyarthritis,
  • Swollen lymph nodes,
  • Neurological signs (e.g. poor coordination of movements).
It is essential to consult a veterinarian if you notice that your dog's health is declining and that one or more of the symptoms listed above are present. It is very likely that he was bitten by a tick several weeks or months ago. In addition, in many cases, the dog may develop Lyme disease in addition to anaplasmosis. This is called co-infection.

Causes of anaplasmosis in canines

Anaplasma phagocytophilum is a bacterium transmitted to the dog by certain ticks. The animal then develops a serious infection: anaplasmosis. After the bite of a tick carrying pathogens, the disease develops insidiously and the first symptoms can be felt by the dog only after several months. This is the reason why a veterinarian may have some difficulty in spontaneously diagnosing this disease.

This serious pathology causes the destruction of certain white blood cells. These are neutrophil granulocytes or neutrophil polynuclear cells that are produced in the bone marrow.

Dog anaplasmosis is not transmissible to humans. However, there is a form of human anaplasmosis, also caused by ticks.

How should a dog with anaplasmosis be treated?

To confirm the diagnosis of anaplasmosis in dogs, the veterinarian cannot simply perform an auscultation. He or she needs to study the results of additional tests such as a blood test and serology to verify the number of platelets, the number and composition of leukocytes, among other things. A PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is also essential to positively identify anaplasmosis.

Treatment of anaplasmosis in dogs is based on the prescription of antibiotics, and the dosage is adapted on a case-by-case basis. The veterinarian must take into account the test results, the age of the animal, its sex and weight. This type of treatment is really very effective since the symptoms disappear, depending on how long they have been present, between 48 and 72 hours. After two weeks, new tests must be done to verify that the bacteria in question has completely disappeared.

It is very important that the dog be treated as soon as possible because if left untreated, anaplasmosis can be fatal.

Can anaplasmosis be prevented in dogs?

The prevention of anaplasmosis requires the protection of the dog against ticks. There are various natural solutions that act as a preventive or curative measure. Moreover, after each walk in the nature, it is essential to check if ticks have not settled on the animal's body. If so, don't wait to remove them by simply using a tick remover or by asking the veterinarian to do it.

Vigilance is fundamental: every dog owner must lead a merciless fight against pathogens because they transmit diseases whose gravity is recognized. Protecting your dog from ticks can help prevent many health problems.