Babesiosis (Parasite Infection) in Dogs

Babesiosis (Parasite Infection) in Dogs

Babesiosis is the diseased state caused by the single-celled parasites of the genus Babesia. Infection in a dog can occur through tick transmission, blood transfer from dog bites, transplacental transmission or blood transfusions.

The most common way of transmission is through a tick bite. The incubation period averages to about two weeks, however symptoms may remain mild, resulting in some cases not being diagnosed from months to years.

For outdoor dogs who are constantly active (especially in wooded areas), they are at a heightened risk of getting bitten by ticks and contracting this parasite. This is increased from May through September, when tick populations are at their highest.

How Can I Prevent Babesiosis?

The best way to prevent a parasite infection in your dog is to be very vigilant about tick prevention. There are many different treatment options, including oral medications, tick collars and spot-on treatments. It is also important to check your canine for ticks every day, and to pay attention to places like between their toes, under their collar, behind their ears and in their armpits.

What Are the Symptoms of Babesiosis?

  • Pale gums
  • Fever
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Enlarged abdomen
  • Weight loss
  • Discolored stool
  • Yellow or orange skin
  • Colored urine

What Are the Causes of Babesiosis?

  • Recent blood transfusion
  • A recent wound from a dog bite
  • Immune suppression can cause clinical signs and increased parasitemia in dogs who are chronically infected
  • A background history of tick attachment

How is Babesiosis Treated?

Patients can usually be treated on an outpatient basis, however severely ill patients should be hospitalized, especially those who require fluid therapy or blood transfusions.


At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. If you have questions about babesiosis, please contact us at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909

Dunlap: 309-439-9522

Dunlap II: 309-413-0527