A Barton-le-Clay vet has warned against the dangers of babesiosis – an uncommon tick-borne disease that can be fatal for dogs.
One dog has died and three others have fallen seriously ill after an outbreak of babesiosis in Harlow, Essex, prompting animal disease experts to warn that the spread of the condition across the UK is inevitable.
The outbreak has brought back painful memories for Hollie Wilson, who almost lost her dog Olive to the disease after she was bitten by a tick in France.
It was thanks to the intervention of vet Ian Battersby that the English Pointer survived and Hollie’s experience is now being used as a case study for dog owners across the country.
Ian, who works for Davies Veterinary Specialists, told the Luton News: “We are starting to get more calls about it and what is most worrying is that with these cases in Harlow the dogs have not been abroad.
“More and more owners travelling into mainland Europe are taking their pets with them, inevitably they will pick up ticks.
“I would advise owners to speak to their vets about medication to stop tick infestation, also to do so if their show signs of weakness and fever.
“With rapid treatment babesiosis should be manageable, the problem is that it is not the type of thing that vets typically see.”
Hollie added: “Looking back, losing Olive to babesiosis would have been heart-breaking.
“The hours leading up to diagnosis were terrible as we were travelling across France with limited French and I was seven months pregnant!
“We made the decision to get back to England as quick as possible to get her sorted and that’s when every moment counted to get a diagnosis and then treatment.”
> For more information go to www.bigtickproject.co.uk