Following the press release today on both Radio 4 and in national papers regarding the emergence of Babesia Canis carrying ticks in Essex, we have put together the following information:
• Babesia is usually seen in Southern and Eastern Europe, how the disease has entered the UK is currently unknown. It has been found in the Dermacentor reticulatus tick.
• In Essex there have been three documented cases, 1 dog has died.
• Babesia is a microscopic parasite which targets red blood cells. This moves from the tick to the animal in about 24 hours.
• Early symptoms tend to be vague. The animal may become weak or tired. Urine can become dark and the gums and lips may look yellow.
• It can be treated with very specific drugs. Depending on how ill the dog is, blood transfusions may be needed. For some patients the disease will be terminal.
• Babesia can be confirmed on a blood test.
• The best prevention is regular tick treatment, with product with a kill time that is faster than the time in which the parasite is transferred to the animal (less than 24hours).
If you have specific concerns about your dog, please make an appointment to see one of our vets as we can only give general advice on social media.