Anaplasmosis is an infectious disease of cattle that affects the red blood cells that transport oxygen in the blood.  Affected red blood cells are not able to take part in circulation and die.  Once they have died, they are removed by the body and from circulation.

Common Names

Anaplasmosis is also commonly known as Yellow bag, Yellow fever, Gall sickness.

Causative Organism

Anaplasma marginale and Anaplasma centrale. They are commonly found inside ticks, biting insects and houseflies. Any instrument with infected blood on it can also transmit the disease. However, Anaplasmosis does not affect humans.

Common Symptoms

  1. Severe Anemia (Gums and eyes are pale)
  2. Breathlessness (Short breaths)
  3. Loss of appetite (Rejecting fodder)
  4. Less milk production
  5. Abortion in expecting cattle (Occasional)
  6. Depression (General mood is low)
  7. Constipation
  8. Jaundice (Yellowing of the eyes)
  9. Strange movements (Due to uneasiness)

How it Affects Cattle

Affected cattle begin to die or start a recovery within 4 days of when the first signs appear.  Younger cattle have a higher chance of survival than aged cattle.

As mentioned earlier, Anaplasmosis causes very little oxygen to be sent into the blood which creates problems when cattle become stirred up.  Use caution while moving affected cattle from one place to another.

It has been found that animals that recover from Anaplasmosis are carriers and can again spread the disease.

Regional Impacts

The disease commonly occurs in tropical to sub-tropical areas. The Continent of Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, the United States, Central and South America and Southern Europe have all reported this disease.

Risks & Dangers

In the initial periods of the disease with the introduction of Anaplasma, there are no signs of the disease except for mild fever. As the days pass by and temperature rises, the risks become real. In the next 4 to 5 days, if the cattle do not recover – they will likely die.

The yellowing of eyes and skin are the first tell-tale signs that an animal may not make it. Generally it has been seen that animals who recover from a severe bout of Anaplasmosis are not able to produce at their maximum. The risks can be fairly high for infection, if any of the survivors becomes a carrier. Carrier tests need to be done on such an animal, although it may have recovered fully.


Treatment is only effective if the drugs are given in an early stage. Tetracycline and Imido Propionate are the two most popular drugs known to cure Anaplasmosis.

Vaccines & Prevention

Today there is only one commercially available vaccine against Anaplasmosis in the United States.  The vaccines cannot prevent the disease but reduces chances of cattle deaths.  The disease can also be prevented with effective insect control with sprays etc.

References and Resources