Animal Health Professionals Site

9 October 2017

New Case of Babesiosis Confirmed By Vet in Ware Highlights Need for Continued Vigilance of Tick-Borne Disease in the UK

Milton Keynes, October 9, 2017 – A new, confirmed case of Babesiosis by Walton Lodge Veterinary Group in Ware, Hertfordshire has acted as a stark reminder of the need for continued vigilance of tick-borne disease in the UK, even for dogs that have not travelled outside the UK.

Vet, Atilla Csaka, of Walton Lodge Veterinary Group was presented with the concerned owners of an eight year old Staffie at the end of August this year, having found blood in the dog’s urine. Atilla explains: “Fortunately the owners were extremely vigilant and noticed the blood. They phoned on a Sunday and arrived in the surgery as an emergency two hours later, bringing with them a urine sample. The urine was dark red and remained so when spun. I then carried out an in-house peripheral blood smear and found the Babesia piroplasms. Treatment started immediately with Imizol injections.”

Atilla continues: “Having just seen the dog two weeks later for its second injection, the lucky Staffie is thankfully doing very well. This dog was fortunate though as we were not seeing it regularly at the practice so it had not been receiving regular tick treatment. This meant it was exposed to the dangers of tick-borne diseases even though it hadn’t travelled outside the UK.”

Hannah Newbury, Technical Manager at MSD Animal Health (a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA.) and part of the Big Tick Project team comments: “This case is a reminder of the value of vets remaining vigilant to the possibility of Babesiosis being present in dogs that have not travelled outside the UK or had contact with dogs that have.

It also highlights the need for vets to discuss parasite risk with owners to ensure that dogs are given regular tick-treatments throughout the year to reduce the risks to pets and owners.”

Hannah continues: “As we learnt from the cases of canine Babesiosis in Essex last year, there are established populations of the tick Dermacentor reticulatus acting as vectors of the introduced pathogen Babesia which is a major concern for animal health. It also demonstrates the potential dangers from the inadvertent introduction of novel disease pathogens if vigilance and surveillance are not maintained.”

The Big Tick Project has become the largest-ever veterinary study of ticks and tick-borne disease in the UK, if not worldwide. This research has allowed for tick mapping and provided a greater understanding about what is perceived to be a rise in the risks to dogs and people from tick-borne diseases including Lyme Disease.

England Rugby Player, Matt Dawson, joined MSD Animal Health this Summer in the Big Tick Project media campaign to help raise awareness of the risk of ticks to pet owners. Featuring Matt Dawson, who recently contracted Lyme Disease, and wildlife expert Chris Packham the campaign focuses on generating awareness of the risk of tick-borne diseases to help improve the health of the nation’s pets and owners. The campaign has been featured across TV, radio, print and on-line media.

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