The two most common tick-borne diseases affecting dogs in South Africa

The two most common tick-borne diseases affecting dogs in South Africa

Ticks are a constant problem for pet owners in South Africa. Find out more about the diseases they carry and how they can affect your fur baby.

Sick dog cute stock image
damedeeso / iStock

As pet parents, we all love spending time with our fur babies outside, but the reality is that a simple walk could lead to your dog falling ill.

This is down to ticks and the diseases they are able to transfer to your dog – and the really sad part is that they can turn deadly.

Ticks love to chill on long grass, so the moment your dog brushes up against said grass, the tick hitches a ride and starts its rather nasty process of feeding on your dog’s blood.

The bite of a tick sees the transfer of its infected saliva into the blood stream of dogs. As they feed on the blood of your dog (yes, it appears that vampires are real), diseases such as canine babesiosis (commonly known as ‘tick fever’ or ‘biliary’) and ehrlichiosis (commonly known as ‘tick bite fever’) begin to infect the blood cells of your pooch.

READ: How classical music can calm your dog

In order to educate you, the pet parent, about the dangers of ticks, below we take a look at the two most common tick-borne diseases affecting dogs in South Africa and how you can protect them from falling ill.

Canine babesiosis

Canine babesiosis is considered to be a truly horrific disease for dogs.

Once infected with the Babesia parasite from the tick’s bite, dogs become depressed, lose their appetite, and show severe signs of weakness.

Vets will look out for signs of fever, pale gums, and the presence of those pesky ticks when diagnosing your dog’s condition.

The biliary disease attacks your dog’s red blood cells and vet’s will extract a blood sample from your dog’s ear in order to confirm under a microscope as to whether the Babesia parasite is present.

Depending on the severity of the disease your vet will administer the appropriate treatment and most dogs will make a full recovery.


The Ehrlichia parasite which causes Ehrlichiosis attacks the white blood cells of dogs.

Symptoms include fever, a lack of appetite, and fatigue.

While most cases are mild – if caught early – dogs can succumb to the disease should a vet not be consulted in good time.

In order to diagnose the issue, blood samples need to be sent off to a lab by your vet, as it is far more challenging to diagnose than Canine babesiosis.

Once diagnosed, your vet will start your pooch on a course of antibiotics which will need to be taken for a few weeks.

How to protect your dog

While ticks are a common pest, you can protect your fur babies by using preventative measures such as tick protection from Credelio.

Credelio is an oral medication for the prevention and treatment of ticks and fleas.

Credelio starts killing fleas within 2 hours from administration with fleas being eliminated within 6 hours. Credelio has an onset of effect within 4 hours against pre-existing tick infestations and 8 hours against newly acquired ticks for the entire month.

Credelio's active ingredient, lotilaner, is a member of the isoxazoline family, a novel class of parasiticides that target nerve receptors of ticks and fleas for powerful protection.

Find out more about Credelio HERE.

Disclaimer: Pet health-related information provided in this article is not a substitute for veterinary advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat your pet’s health problems. It is always advisable to consult with your vet on any health-related issues.

Credelio tick and flea treatment for pets

This article is sponsored by Credelio

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Image Credit: damedeeso / iStock

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