Boris is a handsome 2-year-old Lurcher who was brought in to the Small Animal Practice by his owner after she became concerned by his lack of usual enthusiastic appetite after being on holiday. Boris had a bit of a rough start in life on the streets of Shropshire before Mrs Wilson adopted him; he was mischievous, full of energy and very dirty but once given a good bathing and brushing turned into the handsome face we see now! After 6 months of intense, devoted training and love from his new parents, Boris blossomed into a beautifully behaved dog with a soft and loving nature. It was at this point that Boris became a traveller, heading off to France on the ferry, kept happily occupied with a pig’s ear to chew, visiting his home away from home near Bordeaux.
For Boris to travel, he needed to be vaccinated against rabies and have his passport at the ready. Boris was very organised and booked himself an appointment with one of our vets, James, to discuss his travel plans including the risk of possible infections that he might be exposed to in France and various options for controlling these.
His first trip to France was very successful – Boris was reported to have had a wonderful time, roaming river banks and chasing ducks safe in the knowledge that he was effectively protected against nasties; however, towards the end of his second trip a couple of weeks later, he seemed to mysteriously lose his previously voracious appetite. He was turning his nose up at his food, the only tasty treat that took his fancy was his beloved pigs' ears!
On his return to England, Boris came back in to see us, he was lethargic and a very different dog to his usual bouncy, happy self. Blood tests confirmed that poor Boris had contracted Babesia – a blood cell infection that is transmitted by foreign ticks. Unfortunately, despite his careful pre-travel checks and the use of a good tick control measure, there was a short lapse in his cover which had coincided with his most recent holiday. Sadly, this one tick bite was all it took for Boris to get infected and he became very poorly.
Boris spent almost a week in the clinic having lifesaving treatment. As he slowly recovered, he became a much-loved face for all the staff to greet in the mornings! Fortunately, Boris made a full recovery and is back enjoying his daily adventures in Leigh Woods with his mum like nothing ever happened!
This is the first case of Babesia that we have treated at the clinic for some time and was very unexpected, however we are likely to see more cases as we have heard reports of several cases across the UK in dogs that have not travelled – currently restricted to the South East and London areas. This highlights more than ever the importance of good tick control; our vets are always happy to advise and recommend, so please do book an appointment to learn more!