Canine babesiosis is a tick-borne, protozoal, haemoparasitic disease that can cause varying degrees of haemolytic anaemia, splenomegaly, thrombocytopenia and fever. There are two hosts for the transmission of Babesia spp., viz. invertebrate (tick) and vertebrate host. Dogs are one among the many targets of Babesia spp., causing canine babesiosis, and now there are clinical evidences of possible vertical transmission too. Dogs of all ages can be affected with Babesia spp., but young puppies are more commonly affected. Considering advanced diagnostic techniques, for an early and specific detection of acute infections, an AgELISA that is potentially translatable to a rapid diagnostic test design is reported. Different molecular techniques used for identification and differentiation of the various species of Babesia are semi-nested PCR, reverse line blotting and PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Treatment consists of three components: treatment with antiprotozoal agents to eliminate the parasite, blood transfusions to treat severe anaemia and supportive care for the complications and metabolic derangements. Blood lactate concentrations can serve as a prognostic indicator in severe or complicated canine babesiosis. For prevention apart from conventional measures, vaccines against Babesia species such as B. gibsoni are currently being developed.
Part of the book: Veterinary Medicine and Pharmaceuticals