An update on Babesia canis in the UK
Canine babesiosis is a tick-borne disease caused by Babesia spp. protozoa. Infection occurs when the parasite is transmitted in the saliva of a feeding tick, blood transfusion, and in the case of Babesia gibsoni, through dog bites and transplacental transmission. Although several Babesia spp. are present throughout the world, Babesia canis is both the most pathogenic and common in Europe, being highly prevalent in many mainland European countries where its vector Dermacentor reticulatus is present. Affected countries include popular travel destinations such as France, Spain and Eastern Europe. The presence of D. reticulatus in foci in the UK, presents the risk of infection establishing in these populations. This occurred in Harlow in 2015 with subsequent cases in untraveled dogs in Romford and Ware. This article summarises the B. canis situation in the UK, clinical signs, diagnosis and treatment as well as control measures to try to prevent disease in dogs and further spread of the parasite.
Key words: Ticks, Babesia canis, Babesiosis, UK, imported disease.
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