Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Babesia spp

Contributor(s): Stephen Kania, Ian Wright




  • Phylum: Apicomplexa.
  • Class: Sporozoea.
  • Subclass: Piroplasmea.
  • Order: Piroplasmida.
  • Family: Babesiidae.
  • Genus:Babesia.

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Clinical Effects



  • Within erythrocytes of primary host.
  • Intermediate hosts are ticks of the family Ixodidae.


In primary host
  • Organism divides asexually by budding within red blood cells → 2 or 4 individuals per cell.
  • Erythrocyte eventually ruptures → organisms liberated → penetrate new red cells.
  • Parasitemic blood ingested by tick.
In intermediate host
  • Sexual reproduction may occur in gut of tick.
  • Followed by schizogony → motile club-shaped vermicules.
  • Migrate to tissues of tick, especially ovaries → multiplication.
  • Invade eggs of tick → multiply in hatched larvae.
  • Enter salivary glands of larvae → infective sporozoites → inoculated into new host.


Pathological effects

  • Humans: fever, hemolytic anemia, may be fatal. More common in splenectomized patients.
  • Dog/cat: progressive anemia Anemia: overview ; may be acute or chronic; often subclinical.



  • None in North America or the UK.
  • Available for dogs in France.

Other countermeasures


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Swainsbury C, Bengtson G & Hill P (2016) Babesiosis in dogs. Vet Rec 178 (7), 172 PubMed.
  • Taboada J, Harvey J W, Levy M G et al (1992) Seroprevalence of babesiosis in Greyhounds in Florida. JAVMA 200 (1), 47-50 PubMed.
  • Conrad P, Thomford J, Yamane I et al (1991) Hemolytic anemia caused by Babesia gibsoni infection in dogs. JAVMA 199 (5), 601-605 PubMed.
  • Taboada J & Merchant S R (1991) Babesiosis of companion animals and man. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 21 (1), 103-123 PubMed.
  • Abdullahi S U, Mohammed A A, Trimnell A R et al (1990) Clinical and haematological findings in 70 naturally occurring cases of canine babesiosis. JSAP 31 (3), 145-147 VetMedResource.