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Tick-borne Diseases in Dogs - Babesiosis
By: Tippy and Turbo
Babesiosis in dogs and other canines is a tick-borne disease
caused by a protozoan blood parasite from the genus Babesia.
The protozoa is called Babesia, the disease is called
The protozoa spread to dogs through a bite from an Ixodes
tick. Common names for this tick include Deer Tick,
Blacklegged Tick, Bear Tick, or Brown Dog Tick. Both these
various types of ticks and Babesiosis are found in
widespread areas of the world, from the Americas to Europe
and Asia. Humans are also vulnerable to this disease.
Incubation of the parasite after the infected tick bite is
ten days to three weeks. Any dog can be infected, but this
disease is most common in young dogs under three.
The Babesia organism infects red blood cells and causes a
systemic inflammation. The brain, kidneys, liver and spleen
are often damaged. The lungs are also inflamed, causing
acute respiratory distress syndrome and possible death. Some
dogs develop severe symptoms such as kidney failure,
jaundice, and blood clotting disorders.
Some dogs exhibit Cerebral Babeosis, with brain disorders
such as partial paralysis, tremors, seizures, loss of
coordination, or coma. Amazingly, dogs that survive the
Cerebral Babesiosis usually go on to good health with no
permanent neurological problems.
Common names for the disease also include Tropical Canine
Pancytopenia, Canine Hemorrhagic Fever, Tracker Dog Disease,
and Canine Typhus. Many military dogs had this disease
during the war in Vietnam, and the disease is often a large
problem in areas of the world that don't have cold winters
that reduce the tick population.
In the United State this disease is most often diagnosed
between March and October, during the periods in which ticks
are most active.
Symptoms of Babesiosis in dogs include:
* Lethargy and weakness
* Inability to produce urine or red colored urine
* Excessive thirst
* Pale or jaundiced gums
* Respiratory distress
* Collapse, seizures or coma
Immediate veterinary testing, including blood tests and
urinalysis, diagnosis and treatment are obviously required.
The organism must be attacked and dangerous symptoms such as
the anemia must be treated. Severe anemia will require a
An infected dog will require a combination of professional
veterinary care followed by extended home care. Be sure to
follow all of your vet's directions for the full course of
treatment, and go back for help if needed.
How you can keep your Dog Happy and Healthy