NEW Tick Disease - Babesiosis

What is Babesiosis?

Babesiosis is a disease caused by a parasite of red blood cells. These parasites are spread by tick bites, and for the first time they have been found in the UK.

At least four dogs with no history of foreign travel have been diagnosed with Babesiosis in Essex. This is cause for great concern as previously the disease has only been found in mainland Europe. 

Will it just affect dogs?

Babesia canis, the parasite in question, is thought to be species specific and will only affect dogs. 


Affected dogs may show signs of weakness, lethargy, fever, pale or yellow gums, abnormal coloured urine and unwillingness to eat. 

How does it work? 

The Tick Lifecycle

Immature ticks wait in the undergrowth until they detect a passing animal. They will then jump off and attach themselves, commonly to the feet or face of the animal. The tick will feed on the animal’s blood, gradually increasing in size for several days. Once the tick has fed it will drop off to produce large amounts of eggs in order to repeat the lifecycle. 

Once passed to the dog, the parasite will enter the red blood cells where it multiplies causing destruction of the cells. The resultant anaemia and associated problems can be fatal, even with extensive treatment.


What can I do?

Try to avoid walking your dog in known tick infested areas and ensure that you are checking your dog for ticks after every walk. It takes approximately 24-48hrs from 

the tick biting for the parasites to be transmitted and so swift removal can prevent infection.

  • Please note: Ticks must be removed correctly as pulling them off can often leave the head buried in your pet’s skin, this can still transfer parasites into the blood.

The best and safest way to avoid Babesiosis however, is to take effective measures to stop ticks from attaching. There are various different measures for repelling ticks that can be used as part of your pet’s anti-parasitic regime, eg. Tablets, collars or spot-on treatments. So please feel free to call us, or pop in to discuss prevention tailored for your individual pets.