Orchard Vet's Blog

Advice for dogs about tick disease


A type of disease normally found only in mainland Europe has been found in ticks in Essex. Babesiosis has caused the death of two dogs, while three others have required blood transfusions.

Although government agencies are investigating the outbreak, it is not possible to stop the spread of the disease. Consequently dog owners in the Midlands need to be aware of the symptoms.

As a preventative measure, consider purchasing an anti-tick collar. After a walk, smoothe your dog all over and look/feel for ticks. If you find one, don't be tempted to simply pull it off. Use a tick hook or dab around the tick with surgical spirit. If in doubt, bring your pet in.

The ticks carry the Babesia canis parasite, which enters the dogs blood cells. The body kills the blood cells in an attempt to kill the parasite, causing anaemia.

Symptoms of babesiosis in dogs include a lack of energy or appetite, pale gums, fever and coloured urine. It can be mistaken for less dangerous illnesses, so if in doubt please bring your pet in for a physical examination and blood analysis. If caught early, the disease is treatable on an outpatients basis, i.e. without the need for hospitalisation.