A 15 year-old Thoroughbred mare was examined for lethargy, fever, and inappetence of 1-day duration. A hard-bodied tick was removed from the horse. A complete blood count (CBC) demonstrated leukopenia with lymphopenia and thrombocytopenia. Morulae were visualized in circulating granulocytes. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) confirmed the identity of these organisms as Anaplasma phagocytophilum. The horse was treated symptomatically for fever and inappetence with flunixin meglumine (1.1 mg/kg [0.5 mg/lb]) and oral electrolyte paste. Oxytetracycline (6.6 mg/kg [3 mg/lb] intravenously every 24 hours) treatment was begun as soon as a definitive diagnosis was determined. The mare responded to treatment, but she was switched to oral doxycycline (10 mg/kg [4.5 mg/lb] every 12 hours) after 5 days because of perivascular swelling at the injection site. Complete resolution of clinical signs was seen. There was no evidence of recurrence 1 year later. No additional horses at the farm were affected. The horse in this report presented for lethargy, inappetence, and fever, with limited other abnormalities. This represents a classical presentation of a mild to moderate case of anaplasmosis, which had not previously been reported in Virginia. The disease may be more widespread than has been previously reported, and it should warrant inclusion on a complete differential diagnosis list in a case of fever of unknown origin.
- Tick-borne disease