With the artic-like temperatures we’re experiencing lately, it is hard to think about warm weather and and ticks, but it is a constant issue here where we live!While Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease that we hear about, ticks can carry other diseases as well.Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne disease that we also see in this area.
It is transmitted through bites of the deer tick and western black-legged tick.Infection often causes lameness, joint pain, fever, lethargy, and not eating (inappetance).In addition to these clinical signs you may see at home, anaplasmosis also can cause cyclic thrombocytopenia (a condition in which there is a decrease in platelets, the cells that allow the body to form a clot).If affected enough, these dogs can develop bruising on their skin or bleeding from a wound (or their nose).
Fortunately, anaplasmosis can be tested for and treated fairly easily.There are two blood tests available for testing for infection with anaplasma; our in-house antibody test (4dx) and a PCR that we send to the lab.The in-house test is fast (gives results within 10 minutes), and accurate for a long-term infection.As some dogs begin showing clinical signs of infection prior to producing antibodies (which is what the 4dx measures), if we are suspicious of exposure to anaplasmosis but the 4dx test is negative, we also can send a blood sample to the lab for a PCR test to be run, which is much more sensitive and can pick up on their infection earlier in the disease process.
The treatment for canine anaplasmosis is the same as that for other closely related tick-borne infections such as Lyme disease: the antibiotic doxycycline. In the majority of cases, symptoms improve rapidly. Dogs frequently are noticeably better 24 to 48 hours after starting the antibiotics, and the prognosis for clinical recovery is excellent.
While we can diagnose and treat anaplasmosis, it is always much better to PREVENT infection!Good tick preventatives are the best way to ensure that your dog does not get exposed to any tick-borne disease.For puppies, we offer Nexgard, a once a month chewable preventative. For adult dogs, we offer Bravecto, a chewable that is given every three months to protect against fleas and ticks.Please give us a call if there is anything we can do to help you protect your pet against tick-borne disease!