Source: RNZ (Extract)
Posted: April 11, 2024

A second dog in Christchurch is infected with babesiosis, a biosecurity investigation has found.

It is the first time the disease has been detected in dogs in New Zealand – as a result of the tick-borne parasite babesia gibsoni.

Ministry for Primary Industries chief veterinary officer Dr Mary van Andel said the second case was discovered in a dog involved in a tussle with the first dog confirmed with the disease.

It had shown no signs of illness.

The dog’s owners had been given legal directions to manage any risk of further spread.

The first dog was euthanised at the owner’s request, after being “extremely unwell”.

As part of the investigation, blood tests were carried out on a small number of dogs that were close contacts of the first affected dog.

All but one returned negative results. Tests on the two positive samples confirmed the infections were related.

Biosecurity New Zealand will continue to trace the contacts of both affected dogs to understand how the parasite entered New Zealand and to confirm whether it was isolated to the small number of animals in direct contact with one another.

Babesia gibsoni can spread between dogs through tick bites or the exchange of blood.

Infection with the parasite can lead to the disease babesiosis. Most dogs with this disease will only experience mild symptoms.

Van Andel said all other dog owners, in Christchurch and nationally, should not be concerned and should continue to take their dogs to daycare, exercise and socialise them as normal.

If people were worried about their dog’s health, they were encouraged to contact their vet.