In summer of 2002, a case of severe clinical bovine anaplasmosis caused great losses in a dairy farm of an animal trader in Grisons. This article outlines the general approach of an outbreak investigation considering the case of anaplasmosis as an example. The goals of such investigations are to identify and eliminate the source of a disease outbreak in order to avoid additional cases. In addition, recommendations should be developed for preventing or limiting the magnitude of similar outbreaks in the future. In the outbreak presented, the causative agents were probably brought into the dairy farm by animal trade. Due to the large herd size, a missing quarantine for new animals and the coinfection with several pathogens, this case led to a high number of fatalities. The investigations of this outbreak demonstrated the importance of an universal and consistent identification of individual animals for the reconstruction of their movements. The veterinary practitioner should be reminded to act cautiously when facing strange clinical cases and to also consider "exotic diseases" as a possible cause.