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Advice

Some helpful info to help you care for your pet

Babesiosis

What is Babesiosis?

Babesiosis in dogs is an infection caused by the single-celled parasite Babesia. This parasite infects red blood cells, both directly damaging the cells but also causing the body's own immune cells to attack red blood cells. This leads to an anaemia which can be life threatening.

How is it transmitted?

The main mode of transmission is through tick bites. A tick typically needs to be attached to a dog for 24-48 hours to successfully transmit the disease. Until recently, ticks in the UK were very unlikely to be carrying Babesia, however, with the increase in pet travel since passports were introduced the risks may now be higher.

What are the symptoms of Babesiosis?

The symptoms of infection relate to the destruction of red blood cells. They can be non-specific and vary widely from dog to dog. The main symptoms are lethargy, weakness, pale gums, jaundice, red/brown urine and fever. Diagnosis is made by examining a blood sample under the microscope or using specialised genetic tests to detect the parasite's presence.

How can it be treated?

Treatment is focused on killing the parasite and stopping the body's immune system from destroying more red blood cells. Dogs may need to be hospitalised to give them supportive care and close monitoring and in severe cases, may need blood transfusions. It can be fatal if left untreated.

How can it be prevented?

There are no vaccines for Babesia available in the UK. Prevention is based on routine use of anti-tick medication and being vigilant in removing ticks from the coat as soon as they are seen. Please speak to us regarding our current recommendations for tick prevention. Particular care should be taken if your pet is travelling outside the UK, however all of the cases that have been seen in Essex involved dogs that had not travelled, and suggesting ticks in the UK were responsible for transmitting the disease.

Alabama Rot

Alabama Rot is a serious disease which has only recently been recognised in dogs in the UK. It causes lesions on the skin and occasionally on the mouth, which can look like sores, wounds or stings. Some dogs go on to develop life-threatening kidney failure. Any age, sex or breed of dog can be affected.

Recently there have been reports of two cases in Kent. As the cause of the disease is unknown, it is very difficult to give specific advice about prevention. Although an environmental cause is considered possible, it has not been proven and we are not currently advising dog owners to avoid any particular locations.

The disease has been under investigation by Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists for almost 3 years. They have a very informative website with the latest news and information about the disease.

Fleas

Successive mild winters in the UK and persistence of fleas in the household environment, helped by centrally heated houses, has seen booming flea populations.

Currently there are a lot of cats and dogs suffering from fleas and flea related diseases, despite being treated with flea control products. Remember, if there are adult fleas on your pet there will already be 1000s of eggs, larvae and pupae in the house.  

Many of the non-prescription and older flea products are no longer as effective and it is best to use the newer generation products.

Your pet will continue to have fleas if:

  • You don’t use one of the latest generation products.
  • You don’t treat the household environment thoroughly with a suitable product. Even with proper treatment, in heavy infestations it may take at least 3 months to eliminate the fleas and all their life stages.
  • You don’t treat all the animals in the house at the same time.
  • You don’t apply the flea treatment at the correct intervals consistently. Many products need strict four-weekly applications.

Fleas are a huge nuisance for pets and their owners causing itchiness and sore, irritated skin. Some pets will also develop Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD). Once this common allergy has developed, it is lifelong. Each time your dog or cat is exposed to fleabites in the future the allergy will be re-triggered leading to a miserable itchy pet.

Flea control is a challenge so it is vital to treat your pets adequately and regularly and with suitable products.

We can advise you and supply the best products that will kill adult fleas on your pet and treat the flea life cycle stages in your home to eradicate the problem.

FLEAS ALSO CARRY TAPEWORMS

It is also important to realise that cat and dog fleas invariably carry the TAPEWORM Dipylidium caninum. Therefore, pets with fleas will usually have this tapeworm too. So it is vital they are also treated for this. The usual roundworm treatments do NOT kill this type of tapeworm.

Please ask us for appropriate tapeworm medication.

Practice information

Wigmore Vet Centre

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  • Mon
    8:30am - 6:30pm
  • Tue
    8:30am - 7:30pm
  • Wed
    8:30am - 6:30pm *
  • Thu
    8:30am - 7:30pm
  • Fri
    8:30am - 6:30pm
  • Sat
    8:30am - 12:00pm
  • Sun
    Closed

Emergency Details

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01634 780073
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392 Maidstone Road Rainham Gillingham Kent ME8 0JA
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Please call this number for emergencies:

01634 780073