Tick advice for dog owners

In Essex, two dogs have died and three others needed blood transfusions after contracting a disease caused by ticks. MORE TH>N vet Andrew Moore BVM&S MRCVS offers some practical advice to worried dog owners.

What is Babesia Canis?

It is a parasite (protozoan) which causes anaemia.

Where is it normally found?

It is found in Europe but only limited cases have previously been seen in the UK.

What about ticks?

The parasite Babesia Canis is carried by a tick called Dermacentor reticulatus.

The tick needs to bite to transmit the parasite. It is thought the tick needs to be attached for 24-48 hours to transmit the parasite.

What symptoms should you be aware of?

  • Lethargy and depression
  • Lack of appetite
  • Pale gums
  • Rapid heart rate and rapid breathing
  • Elevated Temperature
  • Unusually coloured urine (red-brown)

What can I do to treat it?

We would advise that if you see any of the signs mentioned, contact your vet immediately.

There are medications available to treat the disease, but prompt identification and treatment is essential.

What can I do to prevent it?

Always check your dog after walks for ticks, and continue to do so regularly.

If any are found remove them carefully and completely with tweezers or a tick removing tool.

When removing ticks make sure you get all of the tick – you must make sure you get the mouthparts out too. Hence using tweezers or special tick removing tools is best. If you have any concerns, go and see your local vet.

Treat your dog regularly with a tick preventive – there are several options available.

We recommend you speak to your vet about the ticks found in your area and the best products to prevent ticks.

Article first published 23 March 2016

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