This should go without saying, but if your dog’s urine suddenly turns the color of red wine, take him or her to the veterinarian immediately. A dog with red urine may have Babesia (Babesiosis).
There’s a chance the red color may be blood in the urine, an indication of possible dog urinary tract infection. But if dog UTI tests negative, your dog has quite possibly been infected with Babesia, a tick borne parasite not unlike malaria.
Symptoms and victims
Babesia infects red blood cells that are then destroyed by the immune system. This causes anemia and a reddish tint in the dog’s urine. If your dog becomes listless, tires easily, or you notice a lightening of the gums, check his or her urine for the tell-tale reddish coloring next time you go for a walk.
Greyhounds and pit bull terrier breeds are especially susceptible to Babesia infections. Extra vigilance should be taken if you own one of these breeds. Living in the Northeast or upper Midwest of the United States greatly increases your chances of infection. Preventive measures like frequent flea and tick spraying are especially important in these areas.
Beware of Toxic Flea and Tick Products
Familiar brand name flea and tick products like Frontline, Advantage, Adams, K9 Advantix and Zodiac contain toxic chemical pesticides, neurotoxins and carcinogens. Laboratory test results for these products, on file with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, reveal devastating adverse side effects including liver toxicity, thyroid cancer, kidney damage, labored breathing, lesions of the thyroid, reduced birth weight, and increased birth defects.
An All-Natural Alternative
Most dog lovers and holistic veterinarians prefer an all-natural flea and tick spray over the big commercial brands. The favorite among green dog people is a product called TripleSure All-Natural Flea and Tick Spray for Dogs and Cats. The formula uses the same natural defense used by certain plants to keep from being eaten alive by insects. Pure essential oils of cedar and peppermint are combined to safely and effectively repel and kill not only fleas and ticks, but also bed bugs, mange, lice and stinging insects.
Babesia was once a rare occurrence. Even today some veterinarians find the disease difficult to diagnose and treat effectively. Talk with your vet about Babesia if you see redness in your dog’s urine. Treatment often begins with an imidocarb dipropionate injection. If your dog’s urine doesn’t clear up within a day, you will need to return to the vet for follow-up treatment.
Nearly half of all infected dogs need a blood replacement treatment if the disease has destroyed enough blood cells. If this is the case, you may want to opt for a synthetic blood transfusion which is more expensive but more effective as the infection cannot spread to synthetic cells.
What about you?
Humans can be infected with Babesia too, but cases are not as severe as in dogs. Neither do you have to worry about contracting the disease from your dog. Do take care, however, to check yourself for ticks next time you trek outdoors.
Babesia can be life threatening to your dog. Remember, if it’s not a dog UTI, a dog with red urine may have Babesia. Get to a vet. Catching the disease in time means minimizing the damage done to your dog’s internal organs and increasing the chances of a quick and healthy recovery.
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