Sunday, 1 August 2021

Anaplasmosis (Elrichiosis) in cats

5 June 2021

In Poland, we have many different tick-borne diseases, of which cat and dog owners have probably heard. Among these diseases is undoubtedly the frequently encountered babesiosis. Today, however, we will want to talk about another disease that may not be so popular yet, but can be a really serious problem. Anaplasmosis, because it is a tick-borne disease, will pose a problem comparable to that of other tick-borne diseases which, until now, have perhaps been more common than anaplasmosis and is also known as elrichiosis.

The appearance of Anaplasmosis is the result of the action of one of two microorganisms that we classify as rickettsiae. This will involve the following two bodies Anaplasma phagocytophilum, which attacks granulocytes, and Anaplasma platys, which attacks platelets. Both species are transmitted by Ixodes ticks, popular in our country.

Anaplasmosis - Clinical manifestations

The infection, which will progress to the acute phase, can last from one to several days. It will be manifested by fever, sadness, lack of appetite and the appearance of general muscle soreness. Such symptoms may appear as early as 1-2 weeks after contact with an infected tick, which will transmit the disease. The chronic phase of the infection may last up to several months. Clinical symptoms of this disease will very often occur in golden and labrador retriever dogs.

In the case of dogs, the symptoms that will most often appear will be joint pain and lameness. These are due to the action of polyarthritis and therefore polyarthritis. It will also be possible vomiting, diarrhea and symptoms from the respiratory system among other problems such as coughing and heavy breathing. Occasionally, but relatively rarely, meningitis can also occur. Anaplasma platys, which will affect the platelets, directly causes marked cyclic thrombocytopenia. Platelet levels will drop even below 20,000/μl). The symptoms will usually not be particularly severe, it will be possible to say that they are mild, but spontaneous bleeding will be possible. The appearance of petechiae on the skin and mucous membranes will also be possible.

anaplasmosis in a cat

Anaplasmosis - Diagnosis

To diagnose the disease, first of all, a blood count should be performed. The predominant change in the blood tests will be thrombocytopenia. This problem will be present in approximately 80% of affected dogs. Other abnormalities will also be able to include either a decreased or increased lymphocyte count. An analyst experienced in evaluating blood smears will also be able to see that very characteristic inclusion bodies will also appear in the blood cells.

Serological tests

In some veterinary clinics it will also be possible to perform special serological tests, which are of course also available in large veterinary laboratories. The SNAP 4Dx rapid test available at veterinary clinics will detect disease as early as 8 days after infection. The test will also help detect Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, dirofilariosis.

Anaplasmosis - Treatment

When it comes to the treatment of anaplasmosis, antibiotic treatment is the most common treatment in this case. The most common and effective antibiotic in this case is doxycycline. What is very important is that the antibiotic should be used for a minimum of 4 weeks.

Attention: Anaplasmosis is a zoonosis! Infection of humans is possible by the same ticks that will be responsible for transmitting the disease to dogs and cats.