Anaplasmosis and Dogs

Anaplasmosis and Dogs

Anaplasmosis is a bacterial disease that comes in two forms for dogs—Anaplasma phagocytophilium, which infects white blood cells, and Anaplasma platys, which infects a dog’s platelets. While anaplasma occurs in many places in Canada and the U.S., the places with the highest concentration of canine anaplasmosis are:

  • Northeastern states
  • Gulf states
  • Upper Midwest
  • California
  • Southwestern states
  • Mid-Atlantic regions

How Does Anaplasmosis Get Transmitted?

Anaplasma phagocytophilium can be transmitted through the western black-legged tick and the deer tick, while Anaplasma platys gets transmitted through the brown dog tick. Since the western black-legged tick and the deer tick are carriers of other diseases, there is a chance for dogs to be co-infected with other tick-borne diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Ehrlichia.

While there is no evidence to suggest that canines can transmit Anaplasma bacterium to people, Anaplasmosis does occur worldwide in different mammals such as dogs, cats and people.

What Are the Symptoms of Anaplasmosis?

After an initial tick bite and transmission, symptoms often show within one to two weeks and they vary depending on which organism infected the canine. Anaplasma phagocytophilium is the more common form of anaplasmosis—symptoms for this are generally vague, which makes diagnosis difficult. However, reported symptoms include:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lameness and joint pain
  • Fever
  • Coughing (less common)
  • Seizures (less common)
  • Vomiting (less common)
  • Diarrhea (less common)

For Anaplasma platys, signs include the body’s inability to properly stop bleeding as well as bruising, nosebleeds and red splotches on the gums and belly.

How is Anaplasmosis Treated?

Anaplasmosis can be treated with doxycycline, an antibiotic—the earlier the treatment, the better the outcome. Canines are usually treated for a full 30 days, but improvement often shows within the first few days of treatment.

How Can I Prevent Anaplasmosis?

The best way to prevent anaplasmosis is to keep up on tick prevention. There are many different treatment options, including oral medications, tick collars and spot-on treatments. It is also important to check your canine for ticks every day, and to pay attention to places like between their toes, under their collar, behind their ears and in their armpits.

Anaplasmosis doesn’t get as much coverage as other tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease and Ehrlichia, however it is a significant disease which has seen an increase in frequency. It’s also important to note that if your dog has one type of tick-borne disease, they may have other ones as well.


At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. If you have questions about anaplasmosis, please contact us at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909

Dunlap: 309-439-9522

Dunlap II: 309-413-0527