This tick-borne disease can be fatal to your dog

First of all, the question arises: what is babesiosis in dogs? It is a tick-borne disease that affects dogs; as well as other mammals and is commonly caused – as reported by Kivet – by two species of intracellular protozoan parasites of the genus Babesia: Babesia Canis and Babesia Gibsoni.

Babesiosis in dogs is mainly transmitted through the stitch of infected ticks. These ticks attach to the skin of dogs feed on his blood and in this way, during this process, these ticks can transmit the babesia parasite, which causes this disease.

Symptoms to look out for

The symptoms of babesiosis in dogs can vary in severity and manifest differently in each animal. However, there are a number of general symptoms:

  • Fever: one of the most common and usually the first sign of the disease

  • Weakness: Affected dogs tend to show a lack of energy and be less interested in doing their usual activities.

  • Loss of appetite: The disease can cause loss of appetite in dogs, which can lead to significant weight loss

  • Dark-colored urine: Due to the damage the disease causes to red blood cells, the urine of affected dogs may become dark and concentrated.

  • Jaundice: In more severe cases, some dogs may develop jaundice, which results in a yellow discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes.

Kivet veterinarians warn that if you suspect your dog may be infected, you should go to the vet immediately. This will confirm the diagnosis and provide appropriate treatment, as this infection, if not treated in time, can be serious and possibly fatal.

  • If your dog has been exposed to areas where ticks are common or has been bitten recently, you may want to pay closer attention to the above symptoms.

  • Visible bleeding: If you notice your dog bleeding from the nose, stool or gums, take him to the vet immediately.

  • If you have recently traveled with your dog to areas where babesiosis is endemic or where ticks are common, be aware that the risk of exposure is much higher.

Therapy

Treatment for babesiosis in dogs should be performed by a veterinarian and typically involves a multidisciplinary approach to address symptoms and eliminate the babesia parasite. Dogs diagnosed with babesiosis often require veterinary admission so that they can be closely monitored and medications can be administered more efficiently. The main treatment for babesiosis involves the administration of specific antiparasitic medications to help remove babesia protozoa from the dog's bloodstream.

In more severe cases, where the anemia is significant and the red blood cell count is very low, blood transfusions may be necessary to replace lost red blood cells and improve the dog's oxygen-carrying capacity. Affected animals should be isolated to prevent the spread of the disease to other animals. Recovery for a dog with babesiosis takes time and depends on the severity of the infection, the species of babesia involved and how quickly treatment is started.

The best remedy: prevention

Prevention is essential to prevent this disease. Especially the use of antiparasitic agents. Consult with your veterinarian which products are most suitable for your dog. From topical treatments to anti-parasitic collars, they are the most effective options for preventing and preventing tick bites. It is essential to regularly check and examine your dog for ticks, especially after a walk or a day out in the countryside.

Pay attention to the areas most prone to bites: ears, neck, legs (between the fingers) and abdomen. If you live in a house with a garden where the dog goes for walks, it is advisable to keep the house free of weeds and shrubs. These are ticks' favorite places to hide.

Other parasites

When the weather is nice, deworming dogs and cats is extra important. They spend more time outside in parks, gardens, beaches or long weekend breaks or holidays and therefore, as we say, they are more exposed to surprise guests. Although this is the most common time, it should be remembered that prevention and elimination should not be seasonal, but should be carried out all year round to avoid surprises. There are external and internal parasites.

In addition to ticks, there are fleas, the parasites that most affect pets, although there are also mites and lice, which reproduce and spread more with the arrival of good weather. There are also internal parasites. These settle in your body and can cause uncomfortable and dangerous symptoms. We are mainly talking about worms and macroorganisms such as protozoa.

Deworming of adults and puppies

Internal deworming should be done between 1 and 3 months before the start of summer, depending on the contact you have with other animals, whether you live in the countryside or in the city. In dogs, this is usually done with pills, while for cats there are special pastes that facilitate treatment.

External deworming is done with pipettes, collars or specific pills for dogs and cats. It is very important to pay close attention to the duration of coverage of each product in order to be able to renew the treatment in time, maintain protection and consult with your veterinarian which of the options is most suitable.

  • Increase the frequency of bathing, checking and brushing the coat

  • Wash your bed more often

  • Keep the outdoor areas of the house where you spend most of your time clean and disinfected: garden and terrace areas

  • Vacuum the house regularly

  • Together with the vet, draw up an annual deworming schedule, adapted to the age, size and lifestyle of your pet.

  • If you decide to use an anti-parasitic collar, keep it clean and replace it regularly.

In summer it is advisable to reinforce it with other hygiene items for dogs or cats, such as special sprays or shampoos. In dog puppies, internal deworming is recommended from 2 months of age and according to the veterinarian's schedule. In cats from 6 weeks and also according to the periodicity determined by the veterinarian. At this point it is very important to be guided by their instructions, because deworming pets when they are small should be linked to their vaccination schedule.

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