Babesia Piroplasmosis | Cabinet Veterinaire International

Piroplasmosis Infections and Babesia in Dogs
Humans cannot contract Babesia from a dog
Piroplasmosis in Humans

Piroplasmosis Infections and Babesia in Dogs

Babesia is a protozoan parasite that causes a disease known in the human and veterinary world as Piroplasmosis. At Cabinet Veterinaire International, we have vowed to stress the importance of knowing the implications of Piroplasmosis – a tick-borne disease that holds the potential for severe health costs, including death.

In an effort to spread the word about Babesia and its effects, we have compiled a list of facts that every dog lover needs to know. We suggest that you pay close attention, should you notice any of the symptoms or situations listed here, and that you share this information with fellow dog owners.

Transmission of it: Dog caregivers should understand how B. canis vogeli andB. gibsoni, the two strains of Babesia that affect dogs, are transmitted from one canine to another. Most often, Babesia is transmitted when a tick feeds upon the blood of an infected dog and takes in Babesia along with the blood. If the tick latches onto another dog, it will introduce the parasite into the second dog’s bloodstream if the tick has the opportunity to feed for 48 hours or more.

A documented case has shown a litter of 3-day-old puppies to be positive for Babesia, along with their dam. This confirms that vertical transmission, or in-utero transmission from mother to young, is possible.

If two dogs engage in fighting, and open wounds result, one dog can transmit Babesia to the other via blood-to-blood contact. For this reason, Staffordshire terriers and other Pit bull breeds are highly susceptible to Babesia gibsoni that is transmitted in this manner.

If a canine blood donor’s blood contains Babesia, that parasite will be transmitted to the recipientduring the blood transfusion. Greyhounds often receive blood transfusions from other Greyhounds. Because of this, Babesia canis vogeli infections occur most commonly in the Greyhound breed, largely due to a lack of Babesia screening.

How it Looks:Babesia is a single-cell (i.e. protozoan) parasite that resides and divides inside red blood cells. Like other protozoa, each parasite reproduces by dividing itself into two cells. This continues until each red blood cell is so full of Babesia that it ruptures, sending all of the new Babesia into the bloodstream where they find new red blood cells in which to live and reproduce. The process continues until the symptoms of Piroplasmosis become evident and treatment, chronic illness, or death occurs.