Tick Talk – Exploring Anaplasmosis and Safeguarding Canine Companions

Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne disease that can cause bruising, lameness, and even uncontrolled bleeding in your beloved pet. Make yourself aware about anaplasmosis and what to do if your pet contracts the disease.
–by Dr A Sangaran and Dr Goldy Joshi


Anaplasmosis, also known as “dog fever” or “dog tick fever,” is a tick-borne disease that infects a dog’s bloodstream. There are two forms of this disease – Anaplasma phagocytophilum is the most common type and is transmitted by tick bites which can infect your pet’s white blood cells. The other form is Anaplasma platys, which may be carried by the brown dog tick, affects the blood-clotting cells known as platelets.

Guards up against these signs and symptoms

A dog suffering the A. phagocytophilum form of anaplasmosis may display a range of symptoms anytime from one to seven days after infection. Some dogs may only have minor symptoms, while others may also present with ones that are more serious. Symptoms could include–

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Painin the joints
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Seizures (in rare cases)

Dogs infected with A. platys can show a periodic decrease in platelets and develop bruising and bleeding, particularly nasal bleeding.

Beyond the surface with early diagnosis and timely treatment

If your veterinarian suspects your pet suffering from anaplasmosis, will run blood tests to determine if active infection is present. Signs of improvement may be seen within 24 to 48 hours after confirmation of the disease and treatment by your veterinarian. Even after your pet is back to their old self, they may still test positive for anaplasmosis and will fade away in the subsequent days.

The best way to prevent your dog from contracting anaplasmosis is to control the tick population in your house and be careful when your pet is stepping outdoors. Ask your veterinarian who can recommend tick-control products and preventive treatments. These will help repel ticks before they infect your furry friend. If you choose a tick collar, which can keep ticks off your pet’s head and neck, make sure it touches the skin but is still loose enough to accommodate two fingers under the collar.

Carefully inspect your pet when they’re returning from their outdoor play session. Check for ticks between toes, inside ears, between legs, and deep inside his coat. If you are able to find ticks, remove them by carefully plucking off their entire body.

Don’t panic if your pet is diagnosed with tick fever. Follow your vet’s instructions and follow the treatment and medication diligently. You’ll see that in no time your furry friend will be back to being his naughty self!

(Dr A. Sangaran, Ph.D. – Veterinary Parasitologist working as Professor in Madras, Veterinary College, Chennai and Dr Goldy Joshi, M.V.Sc. – is a Veterinary Parasitologist working as Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Government of Madhya Pradesh)