Many of you may have read or heard about the outbreak of a disease called babesiosis in Essex this week. Nationally dog owners are being warned about this disease, carried by ticks, that has been found in the UK for the first time.
It is thought that the risk of babesiosis, usually found in other European countries, was now higher in the UK because of increased pet travel.
Caused by the babesia canis parasite carried by ticks, babesiosis has killed one dog and made at least three others seriously ill. Symptoms include weakness, pale gums, red urine as the disease attacks the red blood cells of the infected animal.
Now that this disease has been found in the UK, it is thought there is a possibility it will spread, although at the moment it seems to be localised to this one area of the country. We have little more information at present but the outbreak is being investigated by the Animal and Plant Health Agency and Public Health England (PHE)
So what can we do to protect our much loved pets?
Check your dog regularly for ticks and removed them immediately. The tick needs 24-48 hours to transmit the disease once attached so speed is the key.
Use anti-tick treatment for prevention rather than cure and make sure you stay up to date with it. This treatment normally comes in the form of a monthly spot on treatment like Advantix or a collar that lasts 6 months called Seresto. These treatments are veterinary prescribed, reliable and can be organised for you at the surgery.
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