Babesiosis is basically a tick-borne disease that invades and attacks red blood cells and causes anemia. Both dogs and humans can be affected. It is caused by a single-cell parasitic organism that is part of the babesia family.
However, most often cases of Babesiosis are seen in pit bull terriers and greyhounds.
How are dogs infected?
Most often, it is contracted after a dog has. been bitten by an infected tick. Babesia organisms can be spread when an infected dog with open-mouth sores bites another dog.
Pregnant females that are infected can pass the infection to the unborn puppies.
Dogs in kennels with poor tick control measures can be particularly susceptible to babesiosis.
They may be infected through blood transfusion. Therefore, dogs with known cases of babesiosis should not be used as donors.
What are the symptoms of babesiosis in dogs?
The symptoms may fail to be seen in the case of chronic Babesia. However, it’s important to note that even when symptoms are not evident, the dog could spread diseases to other pets or people.
The symptoms that a dog display depends on the type of Babesia that has infected your dog. The most common acute Babesia include:
- Enlarged spleen
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Dark urine
Diagnosis for Dogs with Babesia infections.
If Babesiosis is suspected, your vet will recommend diagnostic testing such as blood and urine tests to check for signs of anemia and low platelet count that can be found in urine.
Babesia organisms can sometimes be seen by doing simple blood smears.
Babesia DNA testing is often recommended to help your vet establish which species of Babesia organism has infected your pooch. This is especially vital information since infections by different species require different medications In order to treat the disease effectively.
Treatment for Babesiosis in Dogs.
Babesiosis treatment in dogs consists of three components:
- Blood transfusions can be used to treat dogs who present with anemia.
- Medications can be prescribed to help to eliminate the parasite from your pet’s bloodstream.
- Further supportive treatment will be provided to address any complications or side effects of the conditions.
Most cases of babesiosis progress by the time they are diagnosed. Recovery from babesiosis depends on which body part has been affected.
The prognosis for dogs diagnosed with Babesiosis is generally guarded. It may be difficult to eradicate babesiosis from your dog’s system completely. Dogs with a chronic infection could still spread the disease to other animals.
Ways of Preventing your Dog from getting it
- Since it is a serious illness, it can be easily prevented with good tick control measures.
- Pay attention to tick-checking after your dog has been hiking or spent time in longer grass.
- Use oral medications or even topical treatments for controlling ticks. By using a combination of regular tick checks and preventive measures, you can keep your dog safe from babesiosis and a range of tick-borne illnesses.