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.
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?
How Obscure Is Babesiosis Really? Mika’s Story
Ted the 7-year-old Beagle fell seriously ill from a tick
Babesiosis in Dogs