Babesia canis Treatment

Treatment consists of supportive treatment for anaemia and treatment for the parasite. Blood transfusion may be required if PCV drops below 15% and steroids may be used if PCV is slow to respond to treatment. An anti-parasite treatment (Imidocarb) given by 2 intramuscular injections given 2 weeks apart is considered the most effective treatment for infection but high strength oral antibiotics (clindamycin) also has some effect. The injection is painful and may lead to vomiting. Anticholinesterase effects such as increased tear production, salivation and restlessness may also be seen but these can be counteracted with atropine. Chances of recovery are improved if clinical cases are detected early and prognosis depends on the severity and duration of the clinical signs.

Treatment rarely completely eliminates the parasite, leaving infected dogs as low level sub clinical carriers. This needs to be born in mind as infected dogs may have subsequent relapses and act as potential reservoirs of infection. Preventative products on dogs that have had previous infection and monitoring for ticks is important to reduce the risk of spread of further infection.