Canine Babesiosis

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Canine babesiosis is caused by an infection with the organism Babesia, which is frequently transmitted by ticks. It is a blood parasite that infects your dog’s red blood cells. It usually takes approximately 24–48 hours after attachment of the tick on your dog for the infection to be transmitted.

Clinical Signs
It will depend on the species of Babesia and the individual dog on how they will react when infected with babesiosis. The disease can be mild or severe, and your best friend may show obvious signs of being sick, or no signs at all.

Some of the most common signs are:

  • Pale gums due to anemia (decrease in number of red blood cells)
  • Anorexia (decreased appetite)
  • Depression
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weakness
  • Fever

The scary thing about tick-borne diseases is that the signs are often vague and sometimes difficult to identify. If you live in an area where you see ticks, always keep a watchful eye on your dog. If you suspect he isn’t feeling well, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. To learn more, watch this video on protecting your dog from ticks.

If your veterinarian suspects your dog may have a tick-borne disease such as babesiosis, she will most likely recommend some blood tests. These may include:

  • A complete blood count to see if your dog is anemic
  • A blood film to look for the microscopic organisms in your pet’s red blood cells
  • Other tests, such as PCR testing

If it is determined that your dog has babesiosis, your veterinarian will discuss which medications are right for them. These may include a drug called imidocarb dipropionate, which is known to be effective against Babesia Other medications may be used as well, and your veterinarian may suggest supportive care until your dog’s clinical signs improve. Ensuring that you give your pet all of their medication is paramount to their recovery.

The key to preventing any tick-borne disease is tick prevention. Check your dog daily for ticks, and talk with your veterinarian about the right tick prevention medication for your best friend. Annual testing is also important to protect your dog from ticks. Learn more here.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Beware the Bug

By Dr. Ruth MacPete

Anaplasma is spread by ticks. As the weather gets warmer and dogs spend more time outside, they’re more likely to be exposed to these creepy parasites and all of the diseases they carry. Read more> Or learn more about dogs and parasites >

Reviewed on:

Friday, September 11, 2015

How to prevent ticks in dogs

There are many antiparasitic products that can prevent your dog from getting ticks. You can protect your dog by using special products like pipettes, collars, sprays, powders or acaricidal medallions.

The pipettes with topical application are the most used antiparasitic products. Although they only last one month, it’s recommended to apply them once every 3 weeks, especially in the rainy months when ticks infestation rate is high.

To provide additional protection, besides pipettes you can use a tick repellent collar. Collars have a longer-lasting effect, between 4 and 8 months.

If your dog has a fur that gets wet often, the effect duration of skin applied products will drop significantly. You should know that there are pills for your dog that have an effect on extern parasites. We strongly recommend you to consult a veterinarian before giving your dog any kind of pills.

Take note that all products must be used according to your dog’s age and weight. For example, pipettes can be used after 7-8 weeks of age and collars after 3 months of age.

Whatever you choose, you must keep your dog under observation as he may develop an allergic reaction to the usual insecticides. There are plenty of plant-based antiparasitic products as well as ultrasound collars you can use if this happens.

To protect an apartment dog you should periodically clean its bed and apply some insecticide. For a yard dog, you should apply insecticide in his cage as well as on the places he usually stays at.

Canine babesiosis is a clinically significant tick-borne disease caused by apicomplexan parasites of the genus Babesia which has been reported worldwide including India. These verity of the disease depends on multiple factors such as the type of Babesia species involved, the age and the immune status of the host [1, 2]. It is caused by different Babesia species with a worldwide distribution characterised by erythrocyte destruction causing mild to severe systemic clinical manifestations [3] like varying degrees of haemolytic anaemia, splenomegaly, thrombocytopenia and fever.

Babesia organisms are frequently classified as large or small. Historically, Babesia spp. in dogs was identified by their morphological appearance in erythrocytes of blood smears (intraerythrocytic merozoite stage). Initially, all large forms measuring between 3 and 5 μm were classified as B. canis, whereas all small forms measuring 1–3 μm were designated as B. gibsoni, but molecular analysis and DNA sequencing have revealed that there are at least three small piroplasms infecting dogs, viz. B. gibsoni, B. conradae and the recently reported “Babesia vulpes” [4].

In former times, on the basis of cross immunity, serological testing, vector specificity and molecular phylogeny, Babesia canis was categorised into three subspecies (B. canis canis, B. canis rossi, B. canis vogeli) [5, 6], but now these subspecies are considered as separate species [7, 8].

Fleas, ticks, and heartworm are not only a source of irritation to your pet, but they can also harbor disease and adversely affect your pet’s health—and can even be fatal. Thankfully, all of these can be prevented, and Whole Pet Veterinary Hospital can help you keep your pet safe.

Fleas are small, jumping insects that live off of the blood of animals. They can carry dangerous diseases and will often cause allergic dermatitis (severe itching) in pets. Fleas can cause problems for pets ranging from minor to life-threatening. Not only can these parasites cause severe itching, irritation, and allergies, but they can also transmit tapeworms and diseases. Fleas can infest dogs, cats, ferrets, mice, and rats. And fleas don’t just stay on pets they can bite people, too.

Ticks are external parasites that live off of the bodily fluids of animals. They can carry diseases from one animal to another and are the main cause of the spread of diseases such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis/anaplasmosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Ticks are becoming more and more prevalent in North America, and they’re now being found in areas where people and pets didn’t previously encounter ticks. These parasites aren’t just a nuisance they can cause serious—and sometimes deadly—diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and tick paralysis. Contact us immediately if your pet starts coughing or has joint pain, trouble breathing, fever, weakness, or loss of appetite, weight, energy, or coordination.

The best method for keeping ticks off your pet is by keeping your dog or cat on a tick preventive. Even indoor-only pets are at risk because ticks can hitch a ride inside on your clothing or shoes. Tick preventives are safe and highly effective at controlling ticks and the diseases they carry.

Heartworm is a parasite that can live in the heart of dogs and cats. Mosquitoes carry the worm from one infected animal to another. Several hundred worms can live in the heart of a dog and infection from the parasite causes significant damage and can be fatal. In dogs, signs of heartworm disease can range from coughing, fatigue, and weight loss to difficulty breathing and a swollen abdomen (caused by fluid accumulation from heart failure). Canine heartworm infection can also lead to a life-threatening complication called “caval syndrome” (a form of liver failure) without prompt surgical intervention, this condition usually causes death.

Although often thought to not be susceptible to heartworm infection, cats can indeed get heartworms. Cats can suffer from a syndrome referred to as heartworm-associated respiratory disease (HARD) the symptoms can be subtle and may mimic those of asthma or allergic bronchitis. Signs of respiratory distress, such as rapid or difficult breathing, wheezing, and panting, are common. Other symptoms include coughing, vomiting (typically unrelated to eating), and loss of appetite or weight. Heartworm infection is more difficult to diagnose in cats than it is in dogs.

Treatment for heartworm infection is far more expensive than prevention—and it can actually kill your dog. There is no approved treatment for cats. Some cats spontaneously rid themselves of the infection others might not survive it. And even one or two adult heartworms in a cat can cause serious problems.

Reach out today and get your pet started on a parasite prevention plan that will keep them protected from dangerous parasites.

Ticks are parasites with large jaws that attach to pets, and humans, and feed on their blood. Ticks live on grass and other plants and leap onto a host as they pass by. When they attach they are generally very small, but they grow rapidly when they latch on and start feeding. They may also change colour when feeding too, often going from brown to a pearly grey.

The most common tick in the UK is the sheep tick, or castor bean tick, and it does look like a bean when fed. Initially ticks are small, but they can become over a centimetre long if they take a full meal!

We’re seeing many more ticks than before, possibly due to the warm, wet winters now common in the UK. In Great Britain, the distribution of ticks is estimated to have expanded by 17% in the last decade alone, and the number of ticks has increased in some studied locations by as much as 73%.

Although tick bites can be uncomfortable, especially if ticks are not removed properly and infections develop, it is the diseases carried and transmitted by ticks that pose the largest threat to our pets – which can be life threatening in some cases.

The best way to check for ticks on your dog is to give them a close examination, looking and feeling for any unusual lumps and bumps. Around the head, neck and ears are common ‘hot spots’ for ticks, so here is a good place to start, but as ticks can attach anywhere on the body a full search is important.

Any lumps should be thoroughly inspected – ticks can be identified by the small legs at the level of the skin. If you aren’t sure, your vet can help you – any new lumps should always be checked by a vet anyway, so don’t be shy asking for advice if you need it.

You may see swelling around the tick, but often the skin around looks normal. If you do find a tick, don’t be tempted to just pull it off. Tick mouthpieces are buried in the skin, and pulling off a tick can leave these parts within the skin surface, leading to infections.

If you do find a tick, don’t be tempted to just pull it off, burn it or cut it. Tick mouthpieces are buried in the skin, and incorrectly removing a tick can leave these parts within the skin surface, leading to infections. It is also important not to squash the body of the tick while it is still attached.

The best way to remove a tick is with a special tool called a tick hook – these are very inexpensive and can be an invaluable piece of kit. These have a hook or scoop with a narrow slot in which traps the tick’s mouthpiece.

  1. Slide the tool between the body of the tick and your dog’s skin, making sure all fur is out of the way. This will trap the tick.
  2. Gently rotate the tool, until the tick comes loose.
  3. Removed ticks should be disposed of safely and it is advised to handle them with gloves.

As usual prevention is better than cure and your vet can help you plan the best tick protection – this might be in the form of a collar, spot-ons or tablets. Depending on where you live, tick protection might be recommended to be seasonal (tick season runs from spring to autumn) or all year round. Your local vet can help you with advice.

Always consider the risk of ticks when travelling, and if you do not have up-to-date tick protection for your dog, speak to your vet about getting some before traveling to high risk areas.

After walks, always check your dog thoroughly for ticks and make sure to remove them safely – ask your vet for help if you are unsure.

Seasonal tick protection comes as standard as part of our Complete Care plan for dogs.

Watch the video: Babesiosis Part - 1


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