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Old 10-08-2009, 07:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Post Babesia Infection

I've never really heard of this Infection, its tick born thus spread by ticks. This read also mentions that young dogs, especially "pit bull terriers", are effected more by Babesia than other breeds. i made the stuff that really stuck out to me bold. we dont really have a issue with ticks here in this part of OR, WA. but this illness sounds like some serious trouble.

Infection occurs when a Babesia-infected tick bites a dog and releases Babesia sporozoites into the dog’s bloodstream. A tick must feed for 2 to 3 days to infect a dog with Babesia. The young Babesia organisms attach to red blood cells, eventually penetrating and making a new home for themselves within. Inside the red blood cell, the Babesia organism divests its outer coating and begins to divide, becoming a new form called a merozoite that a new tick may ingest during a blood meal. Infected pregnant dogs can spread Babesia to their unborn puppies and dogs can transmit the organism by biting another dog as well.

Having a parasite inside one’s own red blood cells does not go undetected by one’s immune system. Infected red blood cells are identified and destroyed, which kills the Babesia organism; unfortunately, if many red blood cells are infected this leaves the host with anemia, a lack of red blood cells. Often the host’s immune system will begin destroying the uninfected red cells as well, a condition called immune-mediated hemolytic anemia. Symptoms include weakness, jaundice, fever, and red or orange-colored urine. At least 50% of patients will require blood transfusions.

Making matters worse is the fact that animals seem to get sicker than the degree of anemia would suggest, so that there is more to this infection than the actual destruction of red blood cells. The severe inflammation that is associated with this parasitism can be overwhelming and completely separate from the anemia. Platelet counts can drop, thus impairing normal blood clotting, which is especially a problem with Babesia gibsoni. An assortment of neurologic signs can occur with Babesia infection when parasites sequester inside the central nervous system and generate a more localized focus of inflammation. In severe cases there is a lung injury similar to what people with late stage malaria can experience. The new California Babesia species seem predisposed to creating liver disease.

If the acute symptoms are relatively mild or at least non-lethal, a chronic infection can develop. This is usually without symptoms but the dog may continue to be a source of infection to feeding ticks. Relapses can also occur with stress.

Because babesiosis is a tick-borne infection, it is not unusual for infected dogs to have other tick-borne infections such as ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and others. These infections may interact to make each other more severe.

Young dogs tend to be most severely infected, especially pit bull terriers.

Diagnosis of Babesiosis

If one is lucky, the Babesia organisms can be seen on a blood smear. Babesia canis organisms are tear-shaped and occur in pairs. Other Babesia species have several forms in which they appear. Odds of finding the organism are improved by checking freshly drawn blood taken from a capillary source (a small cut to an ear, for example) rather than from a blood vessel. If Babesia organisms are found, the patient is definitely infected but in most cases an alternative method of diagnosis is needed.

Antibody testing has been problematic as infected animals may have circulating antibodies long after the organism is gone or may have no antibodies circulating while the few organisms remain hidden inside red blood cells.

The current method of diagnosis involves PCR testing. This is extremely sensitive testing and can distinguish four different species of Babesia. While only certain laboratories run this type of testing, this is really the best method of answering the Babesia infection question.

Babesia Treatment

Therapy for Babesia is not a benign under-taking. In fact, if a dog is asymptomatic with Babesia, treatment is not worth the side effects. Furthermore, even with treatment, Babesia gibsoni and probably the other small Babesia species cannot be fully cleared by any of the drugs listed. Female dogs testing positive for Babesia should not be bred.

Diminazene Aceturate
This drug is not available in the U.S. but in other countries it is the most commonly used treatment. A single injection is needed and is best used on Babesia canis. Side effects include nausea, blood pressure drop, painful injection, seizures, and some fatal reactions.

Imidocarb Dipropionate
This is the only drug approved for babesiosis in the U.S. A single dose is usually effective for Babesia canis but two given two weeks apart are needed for Babesia gibsoni and the other smaller Babesias. The injection is painful, plus it causes muscle tremors, drooling, elevated heart rate, shivering, fever, facial swelling, tearing of the eyes, and restlessness. Pre-treatment with an injection of atropine helps palliate these side effects.

Trypan Blue
This medication serves to block the parasite from entering red blood cells and may help minimize the symptoms of the infection. Side effects are minimal. It is given as an IV drip.

Phenamidine Isethionate
This drug is not available in the U.S. but a similar drug called pentamidine isethionate is available. It is more effective on Babesia canis.

Quinuronium Sulfate
This drug is not available in the U.S. It is similar to malarial treatment. It is given as a series of two injections two days apart; generally, the patient has marked improvement by the second injection.
A combination therapy of quinine, azithromycin, atovaquone, and/or clindamycin is promising and may become prominent in the future. Clindamycin, the treatment of choice for Babesia microti, the chief Babesia species that infects humans, can be used against Babesia in dogs. Since this is a readily available antibiotic and the drugs specific for Babesia (listed above) are difficult to obtain, clindamycin represents an excellent starting point for therapy.

A vaccine is available against Babesia in France but only seems effective against certain strains. Vaccination is 89% effective in France. The best prevention is aimed at tick control.
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Last edited by Nizmo; 10-08-2009 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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morning bump cause i worked my ass off last night lol
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Old 10-08-2009, 07:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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thats some WICKED stuff right there!
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Old 10-08-2009, 07:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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oh man im glad ticks arent a big problem where i live... gotta love a college town!!

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Old 10-08-2009, 07:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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thats some WICKED stuff right there!
thats what i was thinking when i read it last night which is why i wanted to bump it for other people to see.
i would hate for someone's dog to catch it on here. that just looks like nothing good will come of it
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Old 10-11-2009, 06:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
 

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Yep the stuff is bad. Some of Michael Vick's dogs were infected with this.
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Old 10-11-2009, 06:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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That is very interesting. Thank you for that info.



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Old 10-11-2009, 07:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yep the stuff is bad. Some of Michael Vick's dogs were infected with this.
were they really?

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That is very interesting. Thank you for that info.
anything i can do to help
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Old 01-15-2012, 04:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
 

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What are the signs and symptoms of Babesia? How do you manage it?
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Old 01-15-2012, 05:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Babesia is usually transmitted as a tick borne disease, meaning it is usually carried by the tick..... however, Babesia Gibsoni (and this is the key as to why it is more prevalent in APBT than other breeds, can also be passed by infected dogs from mother to pups and through bite wounds (as mentioned in the original post)
Babesia Infection in Dogs

Not a bad thing to test for, IMO. My vet had to order the test, as it isn't common in my area
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:16 PM   #11 (permalink)
 

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Thanks for the link, Kingsgurl. Another nice to know info for me.
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Ticks are horrible in my area and they are warning us that this year will even be worse. My vet just prescribed Certifect this year for my dogs instead of Frontline Plus. I was concerned because I never heard of this drug for fleas and ticks before. He said to watch for any type of reaction the dogs may have from giving this drug, lethargy and vomiting because it is a lot stronger then Frontline Plus. If they show any signs to bring them in right away and they will give them medication for the reaction to it. So far so good. The only thing we have noticed with this new medication was their hair stands up higher around the area where it was placed but no swelling or redness is present. Hopefully this stuff will work for tick season.
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Old 05-26-2012, 11:49 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Good read thanks !
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