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What is babesiosis?

Babesiosis is an emerging tickborne disease caused by protozoan parasite related to those causing malaria (Johnson, 2016). There are numerous species affecting companion animals, livestock and wildlife (Uilenberg, 2006). Five Babesia species are associated with most cases of canine babesiosis (Irwin, 2009), although more species have been detected (Johnson, 2016).

Infection occurs following a tick bite introducing the pathogen in the form of the life stage known as sporozoites that exclusively infects erythrocytes (Johnson, 2016). Some infections are subclinical (i.e. a disease which is not severe enough to present definite or readily observable symptoms), although the primary feature of canine babesiosis is haemolytic anaemia causing lethargy, fever and anorexia (Johnson, 2016). However, complicated forms of the disease can include immunological syndromes that can cause more severe manifestations and, in extreme cases, death (Matjiatko et al., 2011). Fortunately, the disease can be controlled by treatments that kill the tick vector and B canis infection can be treated with pharmaceutical intervention (Irwin, 2009).

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.

Irwin, P. J. (2009). Canine babesiosis: from molecular taxonomy to control, Parasites and Vectors, 2, S54.

Johnson, N. (2016). Tracing disease emergence: canine babesiosis in the UK, Veterinary Record, Journal of the British Veterinary Association, v179 n14 p356-357.

Matjiatko, V., et al. (2011). Canine babesiosis in Europe: how many diseases? Trends in Parasitology, 28, 99-105.

Uilenberg, G. (2006). Babesia – A historical overview. Veterinary Parasitology, 138, 3-10.

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