There has been a lot of talk in the media recently about a possible small outbreak of a relatively new disease in dogs in the UK, Babesiosis, caused by the bite of a specific tick which transmits the protozoal parasite which causes the disease. At the moment the affected cases are mainly in Essex, but they could potentially spread.
Babesiosis is a disease which can have serious effects on your dog, such as anaemia, weakness and fever, and therefore it is important to know how to try and prevent this condition. This is mainly done by preventing ticks biting your dog in the first place, or removing any ticks found on your dog.
Prevention of tick bites is best done by using modern anti-parasitic treatments from your vet, with spot-on treatments and collars which repel and kill ticks. Other treatments are available as well and can be discussed with your vet.
It is also important to check your dog regularly, ideally after each walk, for the presence of ticks. These can be found everywhere on the body, but are often found on ears, head, neck and paws. They look like small round pin heads to start with, often grey or black, but they can grow bigger in a short time, resembling a small wart. It is important to remove any ticks found quickly and effectively. Special tick removers are the best to use, which are available from your vet. You can also bring your dog in for a vet to check or to have ticks removed, for a small charge.
Ticks are mainly found in bushes, undergrowth and forested areas or in areas where sheep or deer are common, but they can be found anywhere. The reason this particular tick and the associated disease Babesiosis has found its way into Britain is possibly related to climate change and an increase in international travel with the relaxation of the Pets Travel Scheme requirements.
This type of Babesiosis cannot affect humans or cats and cannot be spread from dog to dog.
If you are at all worried about your dog, or any ticks found, please do not hesitate to contact us and make an appointment.