Abbott EM, Arthur J, Elsheikha H Removal of tick controls for animals entering the UK. Vet Rec. 2011; 169

Abdullah S, Helps C, Tasker S Ticks infesting domestic dogs in the UK: a large-scale surveillance programme. Parasites & Vectors. 2016; 9

Bourdoiseau G. Canine babesiosis in France. Vet Parasitol. 2016; 138:118-25

Breitschwerdt EB, Hegarty BC, Qurollo BA Intravascular persistence of Anaplasma platys, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, and Ehrlichia ewingii DNA in the blood of a dog and two family members. Parasites & Vectors. 2014; 7

Diniz PPVP, Maggi RG, Schwartz DS Canine bartonellosis: Serological and molecular prevalence in Brazil and evidence of co-infection with Bartonella henselae and Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii. Vet Res. 2007; 38:697-710

Githeko AK, Lindsay SW, Confalonieri UE, Patz JA Climate change and vector-borne diseases: a regional analysis. Bull World Health Organ. 2000; 78:1136-1147

Holm LP, Munro ER, Kerr MG Fatal babesiosis in an untraveled British dog. Vet Rec. 2006; 159:179-80

Irwin PJ Canine babesiosis: from molecular taxonomy to control. Parasites & Vectors. 2009; 2:41-9

Jameson LJ, Phipps LP, Medlock M Surveillance for exotic ticks on companion animals in the UK.. Vet Rec.. 2010; 166:202-3

Kordick SK, Breitschwerdt EB, Hegarty BC Coinfection with multiple tick-borne pathogens in a Walker Hound kennel in North Carolina. J Clin Microbiol. 1999; 37:2631-8

Krupka I, Straubinger RK Lyme borreliosis in dogs and cats: Background, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of infections with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto.. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract.. 2010; 40:1103-19

Maggi RG, Compton SM, Trull CL Infection with hemotropic Mycoplasma sp. in people with and without extensive arthropod and animal contact.. J Clin Microbiol. 2013a; 51:3237-41

Maggi RG, Mascarelli PE, Havenga LN Co-infection with Anaplasma platys, Bartonella henselae and Candidatus Mycoplasma hematoparvum in a veterinarian.. Parasites & Vectors. 2013b; 6

Phipps LP, Del Mar Fernandez De Marco M, Hernández-Triana LM Babesia canis detected in dogs and associated ticks from Essex. Vet Rec. 2016; 178:243-4

Sarma K, Mondal DB, Saravanan M Ultrasonographic changes in dogs naturally infected with tick borne intracellular diseases. J Parasit Dis. 2016; 40:(2)248-51

Swainsbury C, Bengtson G, Hill P Tickborne diseases: Babesiosis in dogs. Vet Rec. 2016; 178

Wells R. Babesiosis in a recently imported cat.. Vet Rec. 2012; 171

Tick-borne diseases in dogs

02 October 2016
15 mins read
Volume 7 · Issue 8


Tick-borne diseases (TBDs) can have serious impact on the health and welfare of dogs, and have been described in all continents. The expanding number of tick-borne pathogens, the broad geographic range of many tick species, the ability of tick-borne pathogens to induce infections, and the highly zoonotic potential of some of these pathogens make TBDs the most important subcategory of canine vector-borne infectious diseases worldwide. Indeed, emerging TBDs have become a concern for pet owners and veterinary professionals. The occurrence of babesiosis in a cluster of dogs from Harlow, Essex in 2016 has raised some concerns regarding the inevitable increase in the risk of TBDs particularly after the relaxation of pet travel rules. In addition to babesiosis that has dominated recent headlines other TBDs such as Lyme borreliosis have more quietly expanded to many parts of the country. The large number of tick-borne pathogens, the diversity of tick vectors, the broad range of animal reservoir hosts, limitations associated with diagnosis and treatment, and the ecological complexity of tick-borne pathogens make effective control of TBDs a challenging task. Therefore, it is important for veterinary professionals to be able to detect TBDs early and accurately in order to minimise the morbidity and mortality of these diseases. This article provides an update on some of the most common TBDs in dogs, namely babesiosis, hepatozoonosis, borreliosis, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis. The key roles that veterinary nurses can play to support pet owners in recognising and dealing with ticks and TBDs are also discussed.

Infections transmitted by ticks are increasingly recognised as important causes of disease in dogs. Canine protozoal, rickettsial and bacterial tick-borne diseases, such as babesiosis, borreliosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, are some of the diseases that have been described with increasing frequency throughout the world in recent years (Githeko, 2000). Better animal care, better diagnostic tools used by microbiologists and parasitologists, the curiosity of veterinarians faced with unusual clinical syndromes in their patients, and a broader geographic distribution of the tick vector through pet travels, translocation or commercial trade of pet dogs, are some of the factors contributing to the emergence and increased recognition of these, and potentially other, tick-borne diseases (TBDs).

In recent years, the geographic range of many of TBDs has expanded and several novel infections have been described, suggesting that the range of pathogens transmitted by ticks is more extensive than previously assumed. Babesia and other tick-borne pathogens share a common link, which is tick transmission. Specific tick species preferentially transmit different pathogens, dogs can be sequentially or simultaneously infested with more than one tick species, and a single tick can transmit more than one pathogen leading to co-infections. Both the tick species and the pathogens that they transmit can vary substantially within and between various geographic regions. These factors make the diagnosis and medical management of TBDs a complex and challenging task for veterinary professionals.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting The Veterinary Nurse and reading some of our peer-reviewed content for veterinary professionals. To continue reading this article, please register today.