New effective and safe treatment for canine babesiosis comes from Slovakia
The cooperation of scientists from the Institute of Parasitology SAS and veterinarians from the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice brought original results with a significant contribution to veterinary practice. Using combination therapy, they were able to successfully eliminate parasitemia (the presence of parasites in the blood) in dogs chronically infected with the single-cell blood parasite Babesia gibsoni - the causal agent of babesiosis.
Canine babesiosis is a serious and potentially life-threatening tick-borne infection in dogs that can cause anaemia. In Europe, Babesia canis is considered to be the most common parasite responsible for this disease. However, in 2016, another cause of babesiosis was identified in Slovakia - the parasite Babesia gibsoni, causing a more serious, chronic form of the disease, which is not affected by therapy used against B. canis.
"Many pharmaceuticals have been used in the treatment of canine babesiosis so far, but complete elimination of parasitaemia has not been proven. In addition, frequent recurrences were observed, and side effects occurred during treatment,“ describes Bronislava Víchová from the Institute of Parasitology SAS.
Slovak veterinarians and scientists have developed and tested a treatment protocol consisting of the administration of a combination of three drugs. "The dogs were given combination therapy, which adjusted the haematological and biochemical parameters in the infected animals to the reference range within 14 days, and we did not find any relapses (regression) in the dogs until the 720th day after the start of treatment. At the same time, we did not notice any obvious side effects of the newly developed therapy during the treatment and subsequent monitoring,” explained the parasitologist.
The results of the study suggest that the combination treatment leads to the successful elimination of parasitaemia in dogs with chronic B. gibsoni infection.