Tick borne disease Babesiosis in Britain

Tick borne disease Babesiosis in Britain

Dog owners warned about deadly tick borne disease Babesiosis that has been seen in Britain for the first time after apparently traveling on an animal which used a ‘pet passport’

One dog has died from the immune disease and four are seriously ill. The initial outbreak came in Harlow, Essex but there is a danger of it traveling further. One dog has already died and four are seriously ill after they contracted Babesiosis, which causes animals’ immune systems to attack their own blood cells.

The parasite which causes the illness is believed to have entered the UK on an animal using the ‘pet passports’ scheme, and could be extra dangerous because British vets are not experienced in treating it.
The ticks concerned with the disease are said to be were ‘extremely rare’ in Britain, but it is urged that pets are treated with anti-tick treatments and check for the bugs regularly.

Owners are advised to do a thorough body check of their dog to find ticks, which are visible to the naked eye but can be drawn to dark, hidden areas of the animal’s body such as ears, groin and between the toes. Signs of ticks include dogs excessively scratching or licking a particular area.

To kill the tick once it has been removed, put it in a small amount of alcohol, rather than squash it.

A spokesman for pet insurance firm Animal Friends said: ‘The average dog walker is already well aware that ticks and other parasites can spread infections like Lyme’s disease, but babesiosis is an especially aggressive and dangerous illness.

With spring just around the corner, we are approaching tick season and this outbreak means that owners need to be more vigilant than ever before.