Northern Baltimore County: What is Anaplasmosis in Dogs?

mt. carmel animal hospital anaplasmosis in dogs

Anaplasmosis in dogs often has similar symptoms as those with Lyme disease.

Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne disease that puts people’s and pets’ health at risk within the U.S. Mount Carmel Animal Hospital in Northern Baltimore County informs readers about the symptoms of anaplasmosis in dogs, potential long-term effects, and treatment for this serious disease.

What is Anaplasmosis?

Anaplasmosis is a disease that comes from a bacterial organism known as Anaplasma phagocytophilum. This tick-borne disease may be transmitted via bites of the deer, or blacklegged, and Western black-legged ticks. A lesser form of anaplasmosis in dogs is caused by Anaplasma platys, which is transmitted by the brown dog tick.

Signs and Symptoms

Animals with an infection in the standard form of anaplasmosis, A. phagocytophilum, often triggers joint pain, lethargy, lameness, fever, and lack of appetite. Some dogs can develop unexplained bruising or bleeding such as nosebleeds. Even though most canines will experience symptoms for up to seven days, some dogs will only experience minor symptoms or in some cases, no symptoms at all. In addition, less prevalent clinical signs include diarrhea, vomiting, labored breathing, and coughing. Anaplasmosis in dogs often has similar symptoms as those with Lyme disease, which both can be in the exact geographic location and transmitted by the same tick species.


Multiple tests to diagnose anaplasmosis in dogs or exposure are available in our Northern Baltimore County animal hospital. The most commonly used test for diagnosing anaplasmosis in your dog is the Idexx 4DX test. This test checks for antibodies of several tick-borne diseases including Anaplasma and indicates exposure to the bacterium that causes the disease. If your pet tests positive, a CBC can be performed to help indicate if there is an active infection. Abnormalities in platelet counts and red blood cells could indicate an active infection. Other tests, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and indirect fluorescent (IFA) can help your vet determine if there is an active infection. Also, the organism can sometimes be viewed through a microscopic examination of a blood smear during peak phases of infection.


The treatment for anaplasmoses in dogs is the same as for other similar tick-borne infections. Many dogs with this infection are treated with an antibiotic, doxycycline, for two or four weeks. In most cases, symptoms improve quickly. Most dogs are often better 24 to 48 hours after therapy begins, and the prognosis for clinical recovery is excellent. In rare cases, the dog can become so ill that more aggressive treatment such as hospitalization with IV fluids and medications is needed.


The most reliable method to help prevent anaplasmosis in dogs is keeping your pet on tick-prevention medication such as Bravecto all year. It’s also advisable to inspect your dog regularly for ticks after an outing so they can be eliminated before any transmission occurs. You may also help your dog avoid contracting diseases carried by ticks by keeping them away from the areas where ticks thrive, although this may be difficult given that ticks are endemic in our area.


Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has been serving the Northern Baltimore/Southern York community for over 30 years and is proud to be an independently operated, small animal practice committed to excellence in veterinary medicine and client service. From grooming to wellness services, along with Canine Life Skills Training Courses, and surgical procedures, we have the expertise that will best serve the needs of you and your pet. Contact us at 410-343-0200 and follow us on Facebook!

This entry was posted on Friday, March 1st, 2024 at 8:54 am. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.