A recent PetsMatter article noted that Lyme disease, typically a media superstar during the spring and summer months, is on the rise. But Lyme is not the only threat. In fact, a single tick can transmit multiple diseases with one bite, and one such disease — anaplasmosis — is vying for attention.
Anaplasmosis, or tick fever, is transmitted by brown dog ticks and deer ticks, also referred to as black-legged ticks. It affects humans and animals alike but is not zoonotic. In other words, you won’t get anaplasmosis from your pet, but you could get it from a tick.
Easily confused with Lyme disease, symptoms appear suddenly in pets and include arthritis-like stiffness, high fever, lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. In rare cases, anaplasmosis can also cause seizures and other neurological disorders. Most pets show signs within 14 days of infection.
If you suspect your pet has been infected, see your veterinarian immediately. Diagnostic tests may include a blood count, a chemistry profile to check organ function, a urinalysis, and a screen for other tick-borne diseases.
If your pet tests positive for anaplasmosis, your veterinarian will prescribe an antibiotic. Most pets show signs of improvement within a few days and make a complete recovery.
Cases of anaplasmosis have been reported throughout the United States. To prevent exposure, avoid tick-infested areas, thoroughly comb and inspect your dog within hours of possible exposure, and use a tick-control product.
Your veterinarian is the best source for more information on the dangers of ticks in your area and can recommend a safe and effective tick repellent.
This article originally appeared in PetsMatter Volume 3 Issue 3, published by the American Animal Hospital Association. Copyright © 2009 AAHA. Find out more.