As you may be aware from recent news coverage, a veterinary practice in Essex has recently diagnosed and treated four local dogs with Babesiosis, a disease new to dogs in the United Kingdom.

Babesia parasiteWhat is Babesiosis? Babesiosis in dogs is an infection caused by the single-celled parasite Babesia. This parasite infects red blood cells, both directly damaging the cells but also causing the body's own immune cells to attack red blood cells. This leads to an anaemia which can be life threatening.

How is it transmitted? The main mode of transmission is through tick bites. A tick typically needs to be attached to a dog for 24-48 hours to successfully transmit the disease. Until recently, ticks in the UK were very unlikely to be carrying Babesia, however, with the increase in pet travel since passports were introduced the risks may now be higher.

What are the symptoms of Babesiosis? The symptoms of infection relate to the destruction of red blood cells. They can be non-specific and vary widely from dog to dog. The main symptoms are: lethargy, weakness, pale gums, jaundice, red/brown urine and fever. Diagnosis is made by examining a blood sample under the microscope or using specialised genetic tests to detect the parasite's presence.

How can it be treated? Treatment is focused on killing the parasite and stopping the body's immune system from destroying more red blood cells. Dogs may need to be hospitalised to give them supportive care and close monitoring and in severe cases, may need blood transfusions. It can be fatal if left untreated.

Dermacentor reticulatus 2How can it be prevented? There are no vaccines for Babesia available in the UK. Prevention is based on routine use of anti-tick medication and being vigilant in removing ticks from the coat as soon as they are seen. Please speak to us regarding our current recommendations for tick prevention. Particular care should be taken if your pet is travelling outside the UK, however all of the cases that have been seen in Essex involved dogs that had not travelled, suggesting ticks in the UK were responsible for transmitting the disease

Alabama Rot is a serious disease which has only recently been recognised in dogs in the UK.  It causes lesions on the skin and occasionally on the mouth, which can look like sores, wounds or stings.  Some dogs go on to develop life-threatening kidney failure. Any age, sex or breed of dog can be affected.

Recently there have been reports of two cases in Kent.  As the cause of the disease is unknown, it is very difficult to give specific advice about prevention.  Although an environmental cause is considered possible, it has not been proven and we are not currently advising dog owners to avoid any particular locations.

The disease has been under investigation by Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists for almost 3 years.  They have a very informative website with the latest news and information about the disease.

Flea picSuccessive mild winters in the UK and persistence of fleas in the household environment, helped by centrally heated houses, has seen booming flea populations.

Currently there are a lot of cats and dogs suffering from fleas and flea related diseases, despite being treated with flea control products. Remember, if there are adult fleas on your pet there will already be 1000s of eggs, larvae and pupae in the house.  

Many of the non-prescription and older flea products are no longer as effective and it is best to use the newer generation products.


• You don’t use one of the latest generation products.

• You don’t treat the household environment thoroughly with a suitable product. Even with proper treatment, in heavy infestations it may take at least 3 months to eliminate the fleas and all their life stages.

• You don’t treat all the animals in the house at the same time.

• You don’t apply the flea treatment at the correct intervals consistently. Many products need strict 4 weekly applications.


flea head pic

FAD pictureFleas are a huge nuisance for pets and their owners causing itchiness and sore, irritated skin. Some pets will also develop Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD). Once this common allergy has developed it is lifelong. Each time your dog or cat is exposed to flea bites in the future the allergy will be re-triggered leading to a miserable itchy pet.

Flea control is a challenge so it is vital to treat your pets adequately and regularly and with suitable products.

We can advise you and supply the best products that will kill adult fleas on your pet and treat the flea life cycle stages in your home to eradicate the problem.


Tapeworm picIt is also important to realise that cat and dog fleas invariably carry the TAPEWORM Dipylidium caninum. So pets with fleas will usually have this tapeworm too. So it is vital they are also treated for this. The usual roundworm treatments do NOT kill this type of tapeworm.

Please ask us for appropriate tapeworm medication.

Operation Swan

Prince, this is the name that was given to a lost swan that turned up at our doorstep one day.  The poor young soul was very confused and walked into the reception area, went through the hall and casually entered our kennel room.  This five star, fully airconditioned hotel had become a home for the night for Prince who was offered food, water and lots of attention.  In the morning Emma, the RSPCA officer transferred Prince swan to their facilities and decided that he was ready to be released onto Conningbrook Lake.  Emma chose this area because the large angling lake is also home to 18 adult swans and she was confident they would accept him.  We hope that Prince will stop ‘swanning about’ and keep out of trouble once settled in his new home.


We would like to share a few memories of some events we have taken part in.

Pilgrims Hospice Sponsored Dog Walk

This was the first sponsored dog walk for Pilgrims Hospices ‘Paws 4 Pilgrims’.  It was a great day attracting over 200 dogs and raising in excess of £5000 for the charity.  We supported Pilgrims Hospices by helping with fund raising and providing veterinary first aid care for all our four legged patients.

Ellie and Sophie at our stand

Sophie and Buster

Pet care school talks

We strongly believe that pet care awareness should be introduced to children as well as their parents.  In the practice during a consultation we have to focus on adult owners more, so our little owners might be missing out.  To help them, our head nurse Ellie has become our professional veterinary care messenger in schools.  This provides our ‘little owners’ with a fun way of learning and an opportunity to ask questions.

Ellie and her cards

b2ap3_thumbnail_sad-cat.jpgIf your cat has hyperthyroidism then he or she is probably having to take tablets every day.  We know how stressful this can be for both you and your cat so in order to try and make things easier we have sourced a new medicine.  This medicine comes in the form of a gel, a small volume of which is applied to the inside of your cat’s ear just once a day.  This is a very simple procedure which is easily learned and which most cats will tolerate very well.  We can explain and demonstrate how to apply the gel and you can also watch a short video (see link below).

The active ingredient is the same as the one we prescribe in tablet form so we know that it will be effective, but we will need to monitor your cat’s thyroid level with blood tests for the first few months after you switch over from the tablets.  The medicine costs slightly more than the tablets but most owners are happy to pay a little extra for the added convenience.



If your cat is currently taking tablets for hyperthyroidism (eg Vidalta, Thiafeline/Felimazole) and you are interested in this new medicine, please book an appointment and we will be happy to discuss the treatment in further detail.