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Health & Wellness

Checking your dog for ticks can protect them from anaplasmosis

Another reason why tick preventatives for dogs are so important.

Before posting about you and your dog's hiking date (we know you took the cutest photos!), you should check your pet for ticks. These pests can carry harmful bacteria and cause infections — anaplasmosis being one of them.

Removing a tick from your dog before they're infected is important, but there are other (more effective!) ways to prevent anaplasmosis from affecting your dog, too.

Keep reading to learn about this infection's symptoms and ways to protect your pup. 

What’s anaplasmosis in dogs? 

Lyme disease usually comes to mind when thinking of tick-bite consequences. However, anaplasmosis should be a thought, too. It's another infection caused by bacteria that ticks carry, Dr. Emily Singler, VMD, Fetch by The Dodo’s on-staff veterinarian, explains. 

Symptoms of anaplasmosis in dogs

Dogs with anaplasmosis often show symptoms like lethargy, decreased appetite, limping, hesitation to walk around normally or gastrointestinal problems (think: vomiting or diarrhea). There may be neurological or vestibular changes, including a loss of balance, head tilt, circling, leaning, falling and unusual eye movements.

RELATED: Revolution for dogs protects pets from ticks and fleas and more

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Treatment options for anaplasmosis in dogs

Usually, antibiotics are prescribed to treat anaplasmosis, but if your pup has joint pain, your veterinarian might also recommend anti-inflammatory medication, Dr. Singler says. Hospital stays, where dogs are given IV fluids and anti-nausea medication, might be beneficial for dogs showing gastrointestinal or vestibular signs. 

Most dogs usually get better around 24 to 48 hours after treatment and won’t continue to show any sickness signs. However, it’s possible for the organism to stay dormant in a pup's body even after treatment, which might have the potential to cause a chronic anaplasmosis infection. 

Even if the organism isn’t completely gone after treatment, it’s unlikely that your pup will continue to show signs of sickness. But, symptoms may reappear if they have a chronic anaplasmosis infection at the same time as another tick-borne illness. 

How to prevent anaplasmosis in dogs

Regular, vet-prescribed tick preventatives are the only ways to stop these pests from latching onto your pup, Dr. Singler says. However, if your canine friend finds themselves in an area where exposure is likely, pet parents should check their dog for ticks afterward. Ticks can be found in hidden spaces, between the toes, in the openings of the ears and other small places on a dog's body — so make sure to do a thorough inspection.

If you were with your dog when they were bit by a tick, check yourself, too. Although your dog can't transmit the illness to you, ticks can infect people with anaplasmosis as well.

The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo. 

Photo by Steph Wilson on Unsplash

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