Symptoms of anaplasmosis in a canine

Updated November 21, 2016

Anaplasmosis, also known as ehrlichiosis, is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Anaplasma phagocytophilum. This bacteria is spread to dogs by the brown dog tick, the western blacklegged tick and the deer tick, all of which can also carry Lyme disease. In most cases, dogs bitten by a tick carrying the bacteria will show symptoms within two weeks of the infection.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

Both vomiting and diarrhoea may present themselves in dogs suffering from anaplasmosis. Unfortunately, hundreds of diseases and illnesses can cause diarrhoea or vomiting in dogs; therefore your vet may have difficulty diagnosing your pet's disease.


A fever is another common symptom of canine anaplasmosis. A healthy dog's temperature normally ranges from 37.2 degrees Celsius to 552 degrees Celsius, depending on the breed. A dog with a temperature higher than 552 degrees Celsius is considered to have a fever.


As with Lyme disease, dogs who are suffering from anaplasmosis may experience painful or swollen joints. The pain may switch from leg to leg. The swelling can be extreme, resulting in some dogs crying out when they try to move. Because of the pain, they may also become reluctant to move around.

Changes in Behavior

Anaplasmosis can lead to changes in behaviour in some dogs. This may display itself as depression or lethargy.

Loss of Appetite

In some dogs, the Anaplasma phagocytophilum bacteria can cause a loss of appetite which may lead to weight loss.

Bleeding Disorders

Anaplasmosis may cause some dogs to develop bleeding disorders. Symptoms of a bleeding disorder include severe bruising of the skin, nose bleeds and the presence of blood in the urine.

Kidney and Liver Issues

Dogs with anaplasmosis may suffer infection and/or damage to the liver or kidneys. Once the disease has been identified and treated, kidney and liver issues tend to resolve themselves.

Neurological Symptoms

In more severe infections, dogs with anaplasmosis may suffer from neurological issues such as neck pain, seizures and ataxia. Symptoms of canine ataxia include a loss of balance after a sudden movement, tremors and a change in gait in which the dog may stumble or appear to be drunk. Seizures in dogs often manifest as uncontrollable muscle movement accompanied by a temporary loss of control over bowel movements.

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