Babesiosis (piroplasmosis) is a potentially serious illness caused by intraerythrocytic protozoan parasites of the genus Babesia. Like ehrlichiosis, it is one of the most important tick-transmitted infectious diseases in dogs. During the last decades, an increasing number of clinical cases have been reported in the literature from around the world, especially in Central Europe where an increasing incidence is presumably due to the spread of the vector Dermacentor reticulatus.
Canine babesiosis is reported from many areas in the world, but depending on the region, different Babesia species and strains have been identified. Local knowledge in this respect is important. Concomitantly, different tick vectors are known to transmit the respective pathogens.
Pathogenicity of the different strains of Babesia may vary, but severe clinical or even fatal diseases occur frequently, if the dog remains untreated.