Tick-borne diseases in dogs
Sunday, October 2, 2016
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.
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