Babesiosis in a Dog: Ted’s Story

Babesiosis is a tick-borne infection. It is not a bacteria, however, it is a protozoal parasite.

This parasite invades red blood cells resulting in anemia. Your dog can contract this disease from multiple species of ticks.

Babesiosis in a Dog: Ted’s Story

Ted is a happy, active, bright and alert Beagle. He’s always been well taken care of, vaccinated and on a flea/tick preventive. With his owner, he moved to Ireland from Poland where he grew up.

One day Ted’s owner found a large tick on Ted’s back nonetheless.

She removed it carefully and killed it knowing tick can carry nasty diseases.

The next day, though, Ted refused food and became lethargic and weak. This was in stark contrast to his normal behaviors and Ted’s mom immediately knew something was wrong.

All the first visit revealed was fever and some discomfort in Ted’s belly. Ted was prescribed antibiotics and sent home. At first, it seemed the treatment was working. Ted got a bit better but a week later he still wasn’t himself.

When Ted was brought to a vet again, his gums were now pale, pointing to anemia.

A blood test confirmed that Ted had lost half of his red blood cells.

There were no signs of bleeding, either externally or internally. Something was destroying Ted’s red blood cells.

All Ted’s trouble started after he had the nasty tick feasting on him.

I too would want to understand the tick’s involvement in the situation as it seems too strong of s coincidence.

Based on Ted’s history, the vet ordered a specialized test for Babesia Canis. And sure enough, thousands of these microscopic parasites invaded Ted’s red blood cells, destroying them in the process.

Ted needed urgent special treatment to save his life as well as aggressive supportive care. Some dogs even need blood transfusions to survive.

The prognosis for a dog diagnosed with babesiosis is guarded.

Ted, however, seems to have recovered fully and is doing great.

What would have happened, though, if the veterinarian didn’t give strong consideration to his history? What would have happened if they jumped to conclusions and started treating him for autoimmune disease?

Related articles:
How Obscure Is Babesiosis Really? Mika’s Story

Original story:
Ted the 7-year-old Beagle fell seriously ill from a tick

Further reading:
Babesiosis in Dogs

Categories: AnemiaBabesiosisConditionsInfectionsReal-life StoriesTick-borne diseases

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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