Todayโ€™s path rounds are on ๐›๐š๐›๐ž๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฌ!

๐–๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ข๐ญ?
๐๐š๐›๐ž๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฌ is an infection with the protozoa ๐๐š๐›๐ž๐ฌ๐ข๐š, which infects blood cells. There are over 100 species of Babesia!

๐–๐ก๐จ ๐ ๐ž๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ข๐ญ?
Pretty much every species of animal can be infected by Babesia. Even humans can be affected!

๐–๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ข๐ญ?
Babesia species are transmitted by ticks. The tick feeds on an infected animal, and takes up the parasite in the blood meal. The parasite grows within the tick, and eventually is transmitted to another animal when the tick feeds again.

๐–๐ก๐ฒ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐š ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐›๐ฅ๐ž๐ฆ?
Babesia infects red blood cells, causing the immune system to attack them to try and clear the infection. Ultimately, this leads to ๐š๐ง๐ž๐ฆ๐ข๐š (low red blood cells), ๐ฃ๐š๐ฎ๐ง๐๐ข๐œ๐ž (yellowing of the tissue) and symptoms such as lethargy, weakness and fever.

๐‡๐จ๐ฐ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ข๐ญ ๐๐ข๐š๐ ๐ง๐จ๐ฌ๐ž๐?
The easiest method of diagnosis is looking at blood smear under the microscope, which allows for identification of the parasites. Most of the time they are found within the red blood cells, but occasionally you can see them within white blood cells as the body tries to clear the infection.

๐‡๐จ๐ฐ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ข๐ญ ๐ญ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ž๐? ๐‡๐จ๐ฐ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐?
There are drugs available that target the parasite for treatment, however the availability of treatment for livestock species depends on the location. Prevention focuses on tick control, to prevent infected ticks from feeding on animals. Some countries also have vaccines available for babesiosis as well.

1-4) Babesia parasites within blood cells.

Carter PD, Rolls P. Babesiosis in Animals. Merck Veterinary Manual 2022.

Photos 1-3 ยฉ Cells and Smears Veterinary Clinical Pathology Digital Database.
Photo 4 ยฉ Noahโ€™s Arkive contributor French licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

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