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Ticks

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There has been a lot of media attention recently given to ticks and the recent new strain of tick found in Essex. This has caused some alarm amongst the dog owning population.

Babesiosis is a disease that transmits from ticks to dogs and is therefore known as a ‘tick-borne disease’. Since the introduction of the Pet Travel Scheme, with more and more dogs travelling abroad (where there is an increased chance of coming into contact with the specific type of tick), we have seen an increase in the number of cases diagnosed in the UK.

The main reason for the recent coverage is due to a select number of dogs in Essex that have contracted babesiosis, but have never travelled abroad. This means there are now ticks in the UK that carry the disease and a tick removed from one of the dogs in Essex was confirmed to be carrying the canine babesia parasite.  

Babesiosis in dogs can vary from a really severe to a mild disease.  It tends to cause anaemia and a reduction in the blood’s potential to clot.


CLINICAL SIGNS OF BABESIA

Pale membranes
Loss of apetite/depression
Increased heart and breathing rate
Fever
Collapse
Jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyes and gums)
Red urine (like red wine)

DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosis is based on the clinical signs and examination of a blood smear to look for the parasite within the red blood cells.

TREATMENT

Treatment can be difficult and often the disease is suppressed but not always fully curable. But approximately 85-90% of canine patients will survive the illness. 

PREVENTION

While this information comes as a shock and has raised concerns, the practical advice to our clients does not change:
DAILY TICK CHECKS AND REMOVE WITH A TICK HOOK. A tick has to be attached for THREE days to pass Babesia to a dog. Therefore if you find a tick, remove it promptly with a proper tick hook and the risk of babesia is greatly reduced
Avoid walking dogs through heavily tick-infested areas
Use a tick repellent/killing collar such as a Seresto Collar which is a safe, effective product that lasts for 8 months.  

Please phone the practice for more advice or information about the anti-tick treatment products we offer.



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