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Babesiosis In Dogs – Symptoms & Treatments

Babesiosis In Dogs

What is Babesiosis In Dogs?

Canine babesiosis is a tick-borne, protozoal, intraerythrocytic, hemoprotozoosis. Many strains of Babesia that infect a wide variety of animals have been identified.

The severity of infection varies significantly depending on the species of Babesia concerned, as well as the immune status of the infected dog.

The two hosts for the parasitic transmission of Babesia are invertebrate (tick vector) and vertebrate hosts. Dogs of all ages are susceptible to Babesia infection but young puppies are at more risk. Clinical evidence now reveals that there are possible vertical transmissions too.

The clinical signs and pathogenesis of canine babesiosis are similar to human falciparum malaria. Canine Babesia species zoonotic importance is still not documented. However, the possibility of zoonotic transmission cannot be ignored.

Symptoms Of Babesiosis In Dogs

Babesia rossi

  • Fever
  • Anorexia
  • Weakness
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Tachycardia
  • Tachypnoea
  • Splenomegaly

Babesia vogeli

  • Adult dogs: clinically inapparent infection
  • Puppies: marked infection

Babesia canis

  • Variable pathogenicity
  • Anaemia
  • Thrombocytopenia

Babesia gibsoni

  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Haemolytic anaemia
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Splenomegaly
  • Lymphadenopathy

Babesia conradae

  • Higher parasitaemias
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • More severe anaemia

Treatment Options For Babesiosis In Dogs

Treatment consists of three components:

1. Treatment with antiprotozoal agents:

Imidocarb dipropionate, Diminazene aceturate(B. canis, B. vogeli and B. rossi )

Azithromycin + atovaquone or Clindamycin (B. gibsoni)

Imidocarb dipropionate (B. conradae, B. microti-like)

2. Blood transfusions (Whole blood/ RBC/plasma transfusion)

3. Supportive care for metabolic derangements and other complications. (Intravenous fluid therapy, oxygen therapy)

Home Remedies For Babesiosis In Dogs

The best treatment for your pet will be based on the manifested symptoms. The quick fixes or just treating symptomatically without finding the source often leads to the development of resistant infections or in the case of babesiosis, it may be sub-clinical before/after treatment and they may suffer a relapse when the dog immune system is weak.

Discuss with a veterinarian for any home care specific to your dog’s situation

How to Prevent Babesiosis In Dogs?

  1. Preventing exposure to ticks vectors by checking your dog daily for ticks by routinely spraying or dipping them.
  2. As it takes at least 24 to 48 hours for Babesia transmission, regular examination for the presence of any ticks and removing it as soon as possible is important.
  3. This is particularly important if your dog spends time outdoors, in the woods or tall grass, or in peak tick season (Avoid grassy areas in tick season).
  4. Products that prevent ticks such as Pyrethroid-based tick control products(deltamethrin, cyphenothrin) parasite preventatives (e.g., Frontline,Revolution) or tick collars (e.g., acaricide or acaricide/repellent products) can be used
  5. Tick scape your home and yard to decrease the tick habitat in your yard. Keep bushes and grasses trimmed in your backyard.
  6. If ticks are a serious problem in the area immediately surrounding the home, you can also consider the judicious application of pest control from a licensed pest control operator is recommended.
  7. Nonvector transmission directly from dog to dog or by blood transfusion is of special concern. So stay aware of any infections in the region even though it is previously non-endemic

Affected Dog Breeds Of Babesiosis

There is no breed or sex predisposition. Prevalent in young puppies

Greyhound, American Pitbull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Additional Facts For Babesiosis In Dogs

The most virulent species is Babesia Rossi and occurring mainly in southern parts of Africa.

Babesia canis is widespread in Asia and Europe (intermediate pathogenicity)

The least pathogenic species is Babesia vogeli and it occurs in the USA, Australia, France, Japan, South Africa, and Brazil.

The degree of the infection depends on the species of Babesia, age, any coexisting infections, and the immune response of the host.

The disease presentation varies widely from acute, and peracute to subclinical, or even chronic.

When To See A Vet For Babesiosis In Dogs?

The dogs diagnosed with babesiosis have a guarded prognosis based on what body systems are affected at the time of diagnosis.

Pet parents should be aware that dogs may be sub-clinically infected without any symptoms. Proper identification of the infectious species is important for treatment planning and prognosis.

So it is better to contact the vet for further suggestions

Dog Food Suggestions For Babesiosis

Top dog foods to fight babeiosis

  1. Red Bell Peppers
  2. Broccoli, Spinach, Kale
  3. Turmeric
  4. Broth or stock of boiled chicken bones
  5. Shellfish
  6. Mushrooms
  7. Cooked or raw liver
  8. Red Meat
  9. Canned pumpkin
  10. Carrots, banana

Sample rice and chicken dog food

  • 2 cups white rice
  • 2 cup skinless, boneless cubed chicken
  • 3 tbsp canned pumpkin

Boil the chicken pieces in a pot with water. Add rice to the water after some time. When this is fully cooked, simmer the ingredients. Add the pumpkin after the ingredients in the pot is completely cooled.

Store it for up to 5 days in a fridge and feed your pet as needed.


Diagnosis of Babesiosis can be challenging as Babesia organisms may not always show up on a smear. The diagnosis is further complicated by the fact that Babesiosis dogs may also be infected with other tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or Ehrlichia.

Sometimes, treatment may relieve the babesiosis symptoms, but seemingly in many cases, it does not fully eliminate the bug from the body. This may be considered a latent infection and in times of reduced immune function or stress, Babesia can flare up again

Given that the understanding of the pathogenesis of Babesia is still improving, the treatment of Babesia infections may not continue challenging for a long time.

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