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What is Parasitic Blood Infection (Haemobartonellosis)?

The parasitic blood infection, haemobartonellosis, is a parasitic blood infection transmitted to our dogs by ticks and fleas. The red blood cells are targeted, and these are the cells which carry the oxygen in the bloodstream. The M. Haemocanis mycoplasma parasites do not have cell walls, are highly antibiotic resistant, and are difficult to effectively eliminate. 

When ticks and fleas feed on an animal that is infected by the parasite, they pass on M. Haemocanis to another. The parasite thrives in the red blood cells, and when an infected pest taps onto a dog, the infection is spread. A dog can become adversely affected by this infection if they have had a previous splenectomy; the spleen is the organ which filters the blood cells that are damaged, and if a dog doesn’t have this organ, the damaged cells are not filtered out of the body.

Parasitic blood infection (haemobartonellosis) in dogs is a blood infection that is caused by the transmission of M. Haemocanis via ticks and fleas.

Parasitic Blood Infection (Haemobartonellosis) Average Cost

From 28 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,500

Average Cost

$750

Symptoms of Parasitic Blood Infection (Haemobartonellosis) in Dogs

Symptoms of parasitic blood infections in dogs are quite noticeable and need medical treatment as soon as possible. Symptoms of Haemobartonellosis include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Listlessness and weakness
  • White to purple colored gums
  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Fever

Types

There are several other types of blood parasite infections in which canines can become affected with that are brought to them by ticks and fleas. Other types include:

  • Babesiosis
  • American Canine Hepatozoonosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Flea-Bite Anemia
  • Hepatozoon Canis
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Causes of Parasitic Blood Infection (Haemobartonellosis) in Dogs

Fleas and ticks pass on the mycoplasma haemocanis as they move and feed from one dog to the next. Secondary illness and immunosuppression allow for further complications with this infection.

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Diagnosis of Parasitic Blood Infection (Haemobartonellosis) in Dogs

If your dog exhibits any of the symptoms, a visit to the veterinarian is necessary. A complete physical exam will be conducted, which will include blood tests, chemical profile of the blood, a blood count and smear, and urinalysis. A test can be conducted to show if mycoplasmas in the bloodstream are present and specific mycoplasmas can be identified through the blood smear.

The veterinarian will be able to differentiate between similar disorders, such as chronic granulocytic leukemia, eosinophilic leukemia, and eosinophilic gastroenteritis once the tests results come back.

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Treatment of Parasitic Blood Infection (Haemobartonellosis) in Dogs

Medication

Antibiotics and glucocorticoids are typically effective medications; however, there is the possibility that your pet will remain a carrier of the infection and relapse is possible.

Steroid Therapy

Any anemia developed from the parasitic blood infection may be treated with steroid therapy. Regaining a healthy blood supply is possible with the use of these medications.

Hospitalization

Hospitalization will need to occur in very severe cases. This is necessary if your companion is very ill and listless. Hospitalization will allow the dog to receive necessary fluids, and in very severe cases, a blood transfusion. With this, the dog may become stable.

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Recovery of Parasitic Blood Infection (Haemobartonellosis) in Dogs

Once your dog begins treatment, the veterinarian will want to see him regularly to monitor his progress. It is important to understand that your dog will continue to be a carrier of the disease once he recovers. 

Prevention of ticks and fleas will need to become a priority. There are many flea and tick prevention products available on the market, and your veterinarian can guide you in making a selection if needed. Regular use and monitoring are important, and it is also suggested that the dog remains stress-free, so any immune health stays positive.

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Parasitic Blood Infection (Haemobartonellosis) Average Cost

From 28 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,500

Average Cost

$750

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Parasitic Blood Infection (Haemobartonellosis) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Enzo

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Golden Retriever

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9 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite
Lethargy
Vomiting
Loss Of Balance

My dog has been vomiting on and off for two weeks now. He barely eats (very small quantities if he does at all) and lost a lot of weight. Going now back and forth to the vet, did two ultrasounds and blood tests. The latest ones presented enlargened kodneys and adrenal glands (i believe that's the name) and the vet suspects a tumour in the lymph nodes and another vet suspects blood parasites. We will do another test tomorrow for the parasites. What do you recommend we check for? Thanks

Aug. 8, 2018

Enzo's Owner


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1 Recommendations

It depends on the type of enlargement of the kidney (general enlargement or enlargement due to hydronephrosis); there are many conditions which may cause an enlargement of the kidneys but few causes for adrenal gland enlargement. When it comes to cases like this it is difficult to weigh in as I haven’t examined Enzo or seen any test results, but I would look at likely conditions and think about which tests are cost effective to start ruling out possible conditions. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 9, 2018

Hi my pomeranian was diagnosed of having blood parasyte after visiting the his poop is now black.. im worried though there are sime improvements but im worried with his poop.. its like he is having diarrhea

Aug. 17, 2018

Christopher B.

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Teemo

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Mixed

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Hi! The vet prescribed Doxycycline to be taken twice a day for two weeks. However, due to our hectic work schedule, we were not able to strictly follow the prescription. He was scheduled to have his blood tested again last week but we haven't complied. Do you think we should finish up with the prescribed meds for two weeks again before we visit the vet?

June 12, 2018

Teemo's Owner

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1 Recommendations

You should ensure that any treatment is given in accordance with your Veterinarian’s instructions; it is never a good idea to give antibiotics intermittently and you should think about visiting your Veterinarian to refill the prescription and start treatment again especially if only a few doses were given. The misuse of antibiotics is creating an issue with antibiotic resistance which is why we need to use them responsibly as prescribed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 13, 2018

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Parasitic Blood Infection (Haemobartonellosis) Average Cost

From 28 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,500

Average Cost

$750

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