Dear Daisy Dog
Freud, my terrier mix, was diagnosed with anaplasmosis, a disease I’ve never heard of. What can you tell me about it?
Anaplasmosis was first recognized in dogs and humans in the mid-1990s, so few people know much about it.
The disease is caused by two species of Anaplasma bacteria, which are carried by ticks that transmit them to dogs, humans and other mammals.
One species causes joint pain, limping, fever, lethargy, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea -– much like Lyme disease.
These bacteria, called Anaplasma phagocytophilum, also may persist in the body without causing any significant clinical signs, producing a chronic carrier state.
The other bacterial species, Anaplasma platys, infects platelets, the blood cells that aid in clotting.
In addition to fever, lethargy and swollen lymph nodes, these bacteria cause nosebleeds, bruising and other signs of diminished clotting capacity. The bleeding problems recur cyclically, every one to two weeks.
Anaplasmosis is best prevented by controlling ticks with a topical product like Frontline Plus or K9 Advantix. No vaccine is available.
Veterinarians use a simple blood test to diagnose the disease.
Doxycycline is the antibiotic of choice for Anaplasma. It’s usually quite effective, so I’m sure Freud will feel better soon.