Babesiosis and your dog: Prevention, and treatment, of tick bites
11 CommentsThursday, 1 September 2016 | Kate
As if we didn’t have enough on, dog owners have a new tick bourne disease on our shores to contend with. Babesiosis is new to the UK and is spread by ticks carrying the Babesia canis parasite. The new trend for travelling with dogs across Europe has increased exposure to the infected ticks and warmer winters in the UK make it easier for ticks to survive the trip home.
Babesiosis can be fatal to dogs very quickly so preventing them getting bitten in the first place is key to keeping it under control. Greyhounds, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Pit Bulls, dogs and pups, seems to be most vulnerable though no one’s quite sure why.
How dogs get babesiosis
Given half a chance, a tick will latch on to your dog, break through the skin and start to feed on their blood. Ticks go for thin fur and exposed skin so pay particular attention to armpits, groin, abdomen, lower legs, under the chin, on the face and in the ears.
If the tick is carrying disease it will be passed on through their saliva into your dog’s bloodstream. The longer the tick feeds for the greater the chance of passing it on: Babesiosis in this case.
Once the Babesia canis parasite, has entered your dog’s bloodstream it will get into the cells. The dog’s own defences will attack the parasite to kill it but will actually start to destroy their own blood cells in the process. So your dog becomes anaemic very quickly.
Signs and symptoms of babesiosis
Get your dog to the vet asap if you suspect something is wrong and mention babesiosis, where you have been walking your dog and if you have removed any ticks recently or seen any bites on your dog. If you do remove a tick, and have the presence of mind, bag them up and freeze them. Take them with you to the vet for testing.
How to prevent your dog getting bitten by a tick
Remove the tick properly and safely
• Wear gloves to remove a tick in case of Lyme disease
Now treat the bite area
• If the tick site is bleeding make it bleed a little more by squeezing, the way you would if you cut yourself
Neem is a natural insect repellent. Not only that it is a well known endocrine disrupter which means once it’s got into a tick it will mess with their reproductive cycle. More neem means less ticks in the world. Hooray!
Babesiosis will travel so be prepared.
Ticks love sheep, deer, foxes, hedgehogs, dogs and cats, anything they can get a blood meal from. Once they’ve dropped off your dog they may be miles away from where they started out. They hop onto another dog, or a fox and they’re off again. So keep an eye out for ticks and remove them as soon as you find them. If you’re unsure ask your vet to remove it.
So be watchful and prepared. Do as much as you can to prevent ticks biting your dog in the first place and if you do find a tick on your dog make sure you remove it correctly.Buy Your Tick Bite Prevention Kit Here