Ticks can infect pets and humans

Q: When my dog Murphy started limping, his veterinarian diagnosed anaplasmosis and prescribed the antibiotic doxycycline. What can you tell me about anaplasmosis? How can I prevent it in the future?

A: Murphy’s anaplasmosis was caused by Anaplasma bacteria carried by a tick that transmitted the bacteria when it bit him. To prevent a recurrence, use a tick preventive—available as a chewable tablet, topical liquid or tick collar—throughout the year.

When Murphy comes home after romping outdoors, check him for ticks. If you find any, remove them with a tick puller such as Ticked Off or Tick Twister. Finish by washing your hands, because Anaplasma and other bacteria carried by ticks can infect humans, too.

In dogs, Anaplasma bacteria can cause loss of energy and appetite, fever, joint pain and lameness, and sometimes bruising and bleeding due to platelet damage. Fortunately, doxycycline is very effective at treating Anaplasma infections.

Editor’s Note: While finding ways to prevent ticks and tick-borne illnesses is the best option, when your pet has a tick, veterinarians recommend using a tick puller for removal.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com.

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