Babesiosis is a protozoal disease transmitted by ticks that affects dogs. This disease does not currently occur in the UK, however the ticks which carry it are starting to be found here. Because the disease does not occur in the UK, dogs travelling to infected areas have no immunity to the disease and are highly vulnerable. The disease occurs throughout Europe.
The Babesia parasites infect red blood cells which causes them to be destroyed, leading to anaemia.
Signs of disease
The signs of babesiosis are generally related to the anaemia. There are many causes of anaemia so a full diagnostic work-up will need to be performed to diagnose the disease.
- Pale gums
- Red urine
Diagnosis and treatment
A combination of various laboratory tests (mainly blood tests), physical examination and history are required to diagnose this condition.
There are various drugs used for treatment but they may only control the signs of disease, rather than eliminating the parasite. For this reason, signs may recur during times of stress or other illness.
Good tick control measures are vital to prevent this disease. Use a product that will repel and/or kill ticks, but also check your dog over thoroughly each day and remove any ticks that you find (be careful about how you do this, if in doubt ask a vet to show you).
Last modified: 2011-11-01