Deer Tick, the Western Black-Legged Tick, and the Brown Dog Tick
Anaplasmosis comes in 2 forms, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Anaplasma platys. This depends on which tick has infected the dog. In the case of Anaplasma phagocytophilum, the dog will have been infected by a deer tick or a western black-legged tick. The clinical signs for this sickness are the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Lameness, reluctance to move
- Neck pain or neurological signs in some cases
- Painful, swollen joints
When a dog has been bitten by a Brown Dog Tick and becomes infected with Anaplasma platys, it is usually difficult to notice any signs in a dog. When the sickness is bad enough, the dog may display the following clinical signs:
- Bruising on the gums and belly
- Spontaneous nosebleeds
*Note* Both forms of Anaplasmosis can display all of the above signs. Bruising and nosebleeds are more common in the platys form but may occur in both cases.
Although the chances of a dog contracting Anaplasmosis in Winnipeg and Brandon is fairly low, it is still possible and is more likely if an owner takes their dog camping or hiking. In 2012, there were 26 cases of Anaplasmosis in Winnipeg and 20 cases in Brandon. If any of the above signs are seen in your dog, take it to the vet as soon as possible.
An owner that brings their dog in with these symptoms will likely be asked for a detailed history of their dog. Where it has been recently, if it has been in long grass, gone camping or hiking with the owner recently, etc. The time of year will also help the vet make a hypothesis as to what may be wrong with the dog. The vet will likely ask for a 4Dx test or a SNAP test to be done. A complete blood profile will also be done. They will do a CBC and a blood chemistry to look for any abnormalities in the blood. A physical examination of the body will also be done to try and find the tick or the bite site. Once the results come back positive, the diasnosis for Amaplasmosis can be given.
A dog that has been diagnosed with either form of Anaplasmosis will be given antibiotics for a couple of weeks. This treatment may not kill all of the bacteria but it will eliminate the symptoms in the dog. If the disease has gone on long enough, kidney and liver damage may have happened. If this is the case, a longer course of antibiotics will be given as well as other supportive care. In severe cases, a blood transfusion may be needed to increase the dog’s red blood cell count.