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Canine babesiosis in the UK

Continuing with this month’s theme, and in support of our “Free Ticks and Fleas check” campaign, a reminder of the dangers of ticks and the importance of administering a quality treatment for your pets.

If you remember back in 2016, in February, cases of canine babesiosis were reported by a private veterinarian in Harlow, Essex (Swainsbury et al., 2016), which were subsequently investigated and confirmed to be due to the infectious agent Babesia canis (Phipps et al., 2016). Although this pathogen was rarely encountered in the UK, normally resulting from a dog visiting other countries (Shaw et al., 2003; Tappin, 2009), none of the dogs affected had recently travelled abroad. The pathogen was linked to ticks in an area where several of the dogs were exercised (Hansford et al., 2016). This relatively recent case highlights the importance of preventing any harm caused by ticks to your pets, and ensuring they are checked by a vet regularly.

It is important to remember that one of the reasons why some ectoparasitic treatments are not effective is due to the quality of the product purchased (Dryden et al, 2013).

We offer a variety of quality products in the form of spot on treatments, tablets, collars and sprays. For more information visit our practice and speak to our friendly vet.


Dryden, M. W. et al (2013). Efficacy of selamectin, spinosad, and spinosad/milbemycin oxime against the KS1 Ctenocephalides felis flea strain infesting dogs, Parasit Vectors 6:80.

Hansford, K. M., et al. (2016). Tickborne diseases: Babesia canis infection of ticks in Essex, Veterinary Record, Journal of the British Veterinary Association, 178, 323.

Phipps, L. P., et al. (2016). Babesia canis detected in dogs and associated ticks from Essex. Veterinary Record, Journal of the British Veterinary Association, v178 p243-244.

Shaw, S. E., et al. (2003). Review of exotic infectious diseases in small animals entering the United Kingdom from abroad diagnosed by PCR, Veterinary Record, Journal of the British Veterinary Association, doi:10.1136/vr.152.6.176.

Swainsbury, C., Bengtson, G. and Hill, P. (2016). Babesiosis in dogs, Veterinary Record, Journal of the British Veterinary Association, v178 p172.

Tappin, S. (2009). Babesiosis in a 10-year-old British crossbreed dog returning from vacation in France, Companion Animal, 14, 29-34.

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