Archive for March, 2016
Babesiosis is a malaria-like disease caused by a microscopic parasite (Babesia Canis). The parasite is carried and transmitted by ticks.What has changed?
Babesiosis has been diagnosed in UK dogs before but in all those cases the dogs contracted the infection abroad. For the first time there is an outbreak of Babesiosis in the UK. Four dogs in Harlow, Essex, with no history of foreign travel have contracted the disease. Unfortunately, one of these dogs has died.How is it transmitted?
Babesia Canis is predominately transmitted by the Dermacentor reticularis tick (Ornate Cow tick). In warmer climates (Southern Europe) it is also transmitted by the Rhipicephalus sanguineus tick (Brown Dog Tick).
It is the D. Reticularis tick that was implicated in the recent outbreak in Essex. Importantly, D. Reticularis is not widespread in the UK, with only very limited confirmed populations in isolated areas in the UK.
The Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicehalus Sanguineus) is not currently established in the UK but there are reports of dogs returning from abroad carrying it and subsequently establishing in households.
The infection results in anaemia following destruction of the patient’s red blood cells. Signs of infection include pale gums, high fever, weakness, red urine and collapse in severe cases.How is it diagnosed?
Vets can in most cases diagnose the infection by looking at a blood smear. There is also a PCR blood test available if the blood smear results are inconclusive.How is the disease treated?
There is effective treatment for the infection. It normally consists of two injections given two weeks apart. More severe affected cases might need supportive care, which can include blood transfusions.How can I protect my dog?
Regular control of ticks by using an effective product is the best way to protect your dog. It takes at least two days for the tick to transmit the parasite to a dog, so we advise you examine your dog carefully after walks, particularly in woods or fields. Any ticks found should be removed with a tick remover to ensure all parts are removed successfully.Can the disease be transmitted to humans?
The is no risk to humans from Babesia Canis.What is the prognosis?
Early diagnosis is the key. With appropriate treatment 85 to 90% of patients should recover from the infection.Should I be worried?
It is very important to point out that the tick implicated in the outbreak is at the moment only found in very limited areas in the UK. You can find an up to date distribution map here.What will we do?
We will monitor the situation closely and keep you up to date on any new developments in the outbreak. Milton Keynes Veterinary Group has recently taken part in the “Big Tick Project”, run by Bristol University. In total vets across the country have collected 6, 372 ticks for analysis for tick borne diseases, including Babesiosis and Lyme disease. The results of this study will be available later this year and we will update our clients on the results.
As the winter draws to a close and the days become warmer pets start to spend more time outside enjoying the Spring sunshine (hopefully!) and longer daylight hours.
However Spring brings some unexpected problems for our pets:-
- Chocolate – keep all those Easter eggs well away from dogs as the theobromine in chocolate can be toxic at relatively small amounts especially dark chocolate or those with a high cocoa solids content
- Lilies – many people decorate their house with lilies at Easter time. However the leaves, flowers and pollen can cause kidney failure in cats and is often fatal. Please avoid bringing these into your house if you have cats.
- Hot Cross buns – raisins and grapes can cause acute renal failure in dogs. It does not affect every dog but it is impossible to know which dogs are susceptible and in those dogs that are affected even a small amount can be fatal.
- Gardening – bulbs can be poisonous in dogs and cats so if digging up a flowerbed make sure you dispose of any carefully! Also take extreme care if using ANY pesticides.
- Slugs and snails – they love the wet, warm weather Spring brings and in this area they can carry Lungworm. This parasite infects dogs causing blood clotting problems as well as coughing and other symptoms and can be fatal. Dogs are infected by eating the slugs or snails. Regular treatment with an anti-lungworm insecticide such as Advocate can prevent it.
- Grasses and pollens – as the garden springs into life skin allergies can be more common. Watch out for itchy skin, rashes and sore eyes. Ears can also be affected.
- Lamb bones – we enjoy a lovely roasted leg of lamb at Easter, but dogs should not have cooked lamb bones as they splinter, and any fatty left-over meat could cause an upset tummy.
We had a fantastic turn out for our first doggie blood donor session on Valentine’s Day. We are so grateful to everyone involved, especially the doggie lifesavers! The Pet Blood Bank team were very impressed with how well behaved the donors all were.
This amazing bunch of beauties collected 15 units of blood between them which can help up to 60 sick dogs. And with such an amazing effort, we are planning another donor session in June.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Pet Blood Bank UK (PBBuk) was set up as the first UK charity to collect, process, store and distribute pet blood products in the UK. A change in legislation in October 2005 made it possible for vets to store pet blood. Recognising this as an opportunity to develop a blood bank, Vets Now raised the funds to set up and support the PBBuk charity, which supplies dogs all over the UK with vital, lifesaving blood. PBBuk was launched in 2007 and has provided over 10,000 units of blood products to help save thousands of dogs lives.
PBBuk collects canine blood which is then processed into various blood products and stored on the premises. The blood products are then sold to veterinary practices across the UK. Any profits will be re-employed into educational programmes such as developing veterinary transfusion medicine within the UK.
We at Milton Keynes Veterinary Group are so proud to support the work of the Pet Blood Bank UK, but of course, we couldn’t have done it without our doggie donors! Thank you so much and see you again soon!