Babesia risk in UK

shutterstock_340735958There have been a small number of cases of Babesiosis in dogs in the Essex area which is causing concern amongst dog owners and veterinary professions. Although there currently does not appear to be a risk to dogs in the Midlands area it is important to be vigilant as it is possible the disease may spread.

Babesiosis is a disease caused by a blood parasite called Babesia canis. The parasite is carried by ticks which then infect dogs when the tick attaches to the skin and starts feeding. The tick needs to have been feeding for 24 hours before the parasite is transmitted. The disease is specific to dogs and cannot be passed on to humans or other animals.

Babesia causes rapid destruction of red blood cells resulting in severe anaemia and sadly the disease can be fatal.

Symptoms include: lethargy, pale gums, red urine and  fever


Our advice is BE VIGILANTshutterstock_340735988

  • Check your dog’s skin for ticks every day and remove promptly using a proper tick remover. We stock these in all our branches, they are cheap and simple to use and we are happy to demonstrate how to remove a tick safely. Alternatively you can book to see a nurse/vet to have the tick removed. DO NOT attempt to pull off the tick with tweezers as you are likely to leave the head/mouthparts behind.
  • Use a tick treatment – please only use veterinary products as we cannot guarantee the efficacy of other treatments. We recommend one of three products.

1. Bravecto – Tablet treatment, effective for 12 weeks, works within 12 hours of administration. Does not have a repellent function but kills tick rapidly once they start feeding. Also effective against fleas.

2. Seresto – Collar worn to prevent fleas, ticks and biting lice for 8 months. Helps to repel ticks to reduce chance of feeding, but if tick does attach it takes up to 48 hours to kill the tick. Therefore important to still check your dog and remove any ticks promptly if found.

3. Advantix – Spot-on treatment against flea and ticks. Also repels tick as well as killing any ticks feeding but takes 48 hours after application to be effective so important to check your dogs coat after treatment.

If you have any concerns about this disease or your dog then please do not hesitate to call us, we are happy to give advice over the phone or in branch. If you dog shows any symptoms of Babesiosis then CALL YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY. We are a 24 hour hospital and can see your dog at any time of day or night, please do not delay as this disease needs prompt treatment.

Emergency number: 01543 262464/262433




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