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Babesia Canis, Low Positive


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I don't know whether to have this treated, retest using PCR, or what!

 

Shane has a low-positive 1:80 babesia canis titre. Vet says "best" treatment is imicarb. I do know from other posters that that is hard on the dog, and vet says so too. She mentioned drooling and...unsteadiness? Forgive me, I'm a little rattled. (This news arrived in the middle of another mini-crisis already!)

 

His blood work is "beautiful." But she says this isn't unheard of where the infection has been long-term. I think it has been because Shane has had these other symptoms for the whole 3-1/2 years we've had him: heat intolerant, intermittent limping, slowness on walks, inability to walk some days for more than a couple blocks. These symptoms vary, sometimes better, sometimes worse. But I've always felt that he was living a sub-optimal life for what otherwise looks like a healthy greyhound. (He does have some bone deformities in his paws, but it didn't stop him from racing 60 times.)

 

So I'm about to jump into research myself. But please share your wisdom about what to do. I guess I'm inclined to treat it, mainly to raise the level of his "suboptimal life," and also in case he ever requires prednisone or something in the future. So how bad is this imicarb stuff? Has anybody had a dog like this with a chronic TBD; how did they act?

 

Oh, and have you heard of pretreating with...I think she said atropine, but that doesn't sound right. Whatever it is, is starts with an "a" and is supposed to mitigate the side effects of the imicarb.

 

And yesterday my worst problem was that the picture in my siggy disappeared. rolleyes.gif Thanks in advance.

Mary with Jumper Jack (2/17/11) and angels Shane (PA's Busta Rime, 12/10/02 - 10/14/16) and Spencer (Dutch Laser, 11/25/00 - 3/29/13).

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What exactly is his blood work? Especially RBC, HCT & PLT?

 

Imicarb can be well tolerated and can be bad--depends. Most do not treat 1:80 I believe it is atropine. In addition, the needle must be changed after drawing the med. In the rump and alternate sides.

 

Most of his symptoms can be associated with his paws. Is he on supplements?

Diane & The Senior Gang

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How long have you had him?Have you had him tested prior to this?With vague symptoms, you could be looking at tick disease ... and you could be looking at something completely different. Helpful, eh?I personally wouldn't treat with imizol without first getting a PCR DNA test done at the NCSU tick lab. This test looks for the DNA of the organism in your dog's blood. DNA is there, your dog has babesia. DNA is not there, your dog probably doesn't have it. "Probably doesn't" because the test can be falsely negative. It isn't very often; the tick lab can tell you what their false negative rate is, I forget. The tick lab experts themselves would tell you that the best course of tests is rising titers 6 months apart and a positive PCR. That's a lot of testing and not always practical.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest Energy11

I have four out of five "low positives titers" for Babesia. Curfew has no TBDs. I have PCRs done on all four, and the disease is NOT active. Mine have no symptoms, and I haven't ever heard of treating for that low a titer, WITHOUT symptoms.

 

I have actually GIVEN the Imidocard shots to high titer greys at one of the adoption groups I worked with. We pretreated, per a Vet, with Benedryl IM, about 30 minutes prior, to prevent some of the side effects. I haven't heard about using atropine, but it makes sense, based on the side effectc of the Imidocard. It is not a nice procedure, and some do better than others. They need two treatments, two weeks apart, if I remember right.

 

PCRs are expensive, but, personally, I'd to one on your hound, prior to treating. The PCR would show if the Babesia was active.

 

Praying for good results, no matter which road you choose! Hugs! Dee and The Five

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What exactly is his blood work? Especially RBC, HCT & PLT?

 

Imicarb can be well tolerated and can be bad--depends. Most do not treat 1:80 I believe it is atropine. In addition, the needle must be changed after drawing the med. In the rump and alternate sides.

 

Most of his symptoms can be associated with his paws. Is he on supplements?

Yeah, we've always assumed it's his paws. But he gets Vetprofen, MSM, hyaluronic acid, milk thistle, Omega 3 fish oil, and thyrosin (not relevant I know), as well as acupuncture and chiropractic treatments monthly. We already tried glucosamine/chondroitin and it didn't help. His symptoms vary, no matter what we do, but he is rarely lively on walks. Though he runs around the yard just fine -- briefly.

 

Thanks for the info. Very helpful.

 

Thanks, Batmom and Energy 11. I don't yet know how to do a multiple-quote post. blush.gif

 

Here's one place I get confused. What does it mean to say this disease is "active"? If the PCR shows it's not active, in other words, does that mean it's not there? That it will never again raise its ugly head? That he used to have it maybe but he doesn't anymore? I guess this is the question that gets to the heart of what will be the basis for my decision. Thanks for focusing me!

 

Haven't been to the vet's for a hard copy of his blood work this time around (last week). I did ask today specifically whether his platelets were at all low, and they said no. I'm confident enough in my vet that if she said his values were "beautiful" in every respect, they probably are. But when i get the values, I'll let you know.

Edited by greyhead
Mary with Jumper Jack (2/17/11) and angels Shane (PA's Busta Rime, 12/10/02 - 10/14/16) and Spencer (Dutch Laser, 11/25/00 - 3/29/13).

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Guest HighMaintenance

Hi there. When I adopted my boy, Algonquin in April from my local adoption group, he came with a sheet that listed his tick panel results (they test him for TBD before they place the greys). I've pulled it from his file and here is what it says:

-Borrelia Burgdorferi (lyme disease): Neg

-Babesia Canis: 1:40, gave imizol 1.8, robinol 1.7

-Ehrlichia Canis: Neg

-Rickettsia rickettssi (Rochy Mountain Spotted Fever): Neg

**Positive tick levels have been treated with approproiate protocol. See individual history of the animal. Those levels that are boarderline are noted and may be retested one year later.

Tick analysis is performed thru Antech diagnostics labs and Protatek Diagnostic.

 

So, I guess they gave him imizol and that was it. I didn't do any more research on it, other than asking some questions w/ my own vet. I don't know how much help this is, as he was given the imizol before I adopted him, so I don't know how well he tollerated it. If you'd like, I can ask my adoption group's vet tech for some more info...

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If the PCR is negative, the disease isn't there and won't be there unless he picks it up from a fresh tick. Again, it is possible to get a false negative, but not very possible. If a person were in doubt -- say, a sick dog that they didn't want to subject to imizol unnecessarily -- a person would repeat the PCR. The odds of getting two false negatives are very low.

 

A dog can have the organism and not be sick at the time. In this case, the PCR will be positive. The organism is there and its DNA is there.

 

The PCR technology was developed to detect the teensiest freakin' amounts of DNA. It's pretty cool stuff and has been around for awhile. Nobel prize winner @ 15-20 years ago.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest Energy11

If the PCR is negative, the disease isn't there and won't be there unless he picks it up from a fresh tick. Again, it is possible to get a false negative, but not very possible. If a person were in doubt -- say, a sick dog that they didn't want to subject to imizol unnecessarily -- a person would repeat the PCR. The odds of getting two false negatives are very low.

 

A dog can have the organism and not be sick at the time. In this case, the PCR will be positive. The organism is there and its DNA is there.

 

The PCR technology was developed to detect the teensiest freakin' amounts of DNA. It's pretty cool stuff and has been around for awhile. Nobel prize winner @ 15-20 years ago.

 

Great definition! And, yes, PCR technology IS mind-boggling. To ME, it was worth every penny getting my fours' Babesia PCRs done. All four PCRs were negative :-))

 

I would MOST DEFINITELY recommend the PCR prior to treatment for Babesia Canis!

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I've had two greys with this titer. I didn't treat either one. I would recommend the PCR. I did this.

scootersig_A4.jpg

 

Pam with greys Avril, Dalton & Zeus & Diddy the dachshund & Miss Buzz the kitty

Devotion, Jingle Bells, Rocky, Hans, Harbor, Lennon, NoLa, Scooter, Naomi and Scout at the bridge

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Guest Energy11

Okay, now to research cost of PCR. Thanks very much for all this info.

 

Your vet would probably know where to send, and the cost of a PCR for Babesia. I WISH I could remember where we went ours. I was living in Florida at the time, and it was drawn and set away. Good Luck, yes, this is MUCH better, to me, than treating if you don't have to.

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So...a positive titer is proof that B-Canis was there at some point because antibodies were developed, but it's not proof that it's still there. Lots of dogs are exposed and never get sick. A PCR would actually look for the living organisms? That's very cool! But wouldn't a low titer pretty much mean that the chance of an active infection is very slim?

 

 

Rugrat's Rebel (Simon) 09/03/1995-03/22/2010, Silly Savannah 05/14/1995-02/13/2009, Isabella de Moreau the Sloughi 05/15/1993-10/14/2008, Hammy the IG 06/11/04 and ChiChi the Chihuahua 2003

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Shanti has been treated for it. She was 1:80 but she was so symptomatic. She has a lot of issues. ;) It was Imizol. 2 injections, 2 weeks apart. She did have Atropine with both. She did fine. We did rerun the tests much later and her titer dropped. I think I still have a bunch of articles on it if you want me to send them to you.

The Girls

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NCSU tick lab are the experts.

 

Main link: http://www.cvm.ncsu.edu/vth/ticklab.html

Babesia: http://www.cvm.ncsu.edu/vth/ticklab.html#babesia

More about babesia: http://www.cvm.ncsu.edu/vth/documents/Babesiosis.doc

 

These are kind and helpful people who would probably be happy to consult with your vet.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Thanks, everybody.

 

I just picked up some articles the vet left for me, along with the hard copy of his blood work. For those who are interested, he is not anemic (Hbg 18.9 - range 12-18.0; Hct 54.5 - range 37-55); and platelets 232 - range 200-500. His creatinine is at 2.1 (range .6-1.6), which is where it usually hangs out.

 

However, the vet included a VIN post from an internist at NCSU which says that it's "quite common for chronically infected dogs" to be not anemic or have thrombocytopenia or hyperglobulinemia. So basically the body adapts in those cases. That same internist said that because of the possibilities of false negatives in PCR, the only meaningful result is a positive one. Which is what I've observed about fecal testing.

 

In my gut I feel that this is the reason for Shane's symptoms. But I'm considering doing the PCR first. Just have to weigh the cost and logistics of that against how hard imicarb might be on him. It seems that the answer to every question one could have in this area is "maybe, maybe not." huh.gif But I'm still interested in all experiences/opinions that anyone wants to toss at me. Even though I have a feeling about it, I'm still going to use my brain (and yours)to sort out what can be sorted.

Mary with Jumper Jack (2/17/11) and angels Shane (PA's Busta Rime, 12/10/02 - 10/14/16) and Spencer (Dutch Laser, 11/25/00 - 3/29/13).

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Guest Energy11

I am a retired paramedic and retired vet tech. Having given the shots for Babesia Canis, I PERSONALLY would DEFINITELY do a PCR first. Just MY two cents ... I would NOT put MY dogs through this unless I absolutely had to. As I mentioned previously, I did these shots on high-titer, Babesia Positive dogs, at the adoption group I was with in Florida. I HATED doing them!

 

Good Luck, and just follow your "gut," on this ...

Edited by Energy11
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Phoenix had a low titre for babesia but was treated because the little critters were visible in his blood, plus he was symptomatic. has anybody looked for them in Shane's blood?

siggy_robinw_tbqslg.jpg
Xavi the galgo and Allen the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09.

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Guest Energy11

Phoenix had a low titre for babesia but was treated because the little critters were visible in his blood, plus he was symptomatic. has anybody looked for them in Shane's blood?

 

 

Excellent point! None if mine were symptomatic.

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Phoenix had a low titre for babesia but was treated because the little critters were visible in his blood, plus he was symptomatic. has anybody looked for them in Shane's blood?

Hm, I don't think so. But I know my vet loves looking at slides under the microscope, so I'll ask her about doing that.

 

Sounds like both the PCR testing and the shots are affordable, so money won't be an issue. Thank doG!

Mary with Jumper Jack (2/17/11) and angels Shane (PA's Busta Rime, 12/10/02 - 10/14/16) and Spencer (Dutch Laser, 11/25/00 - 3/29/13).

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Prices have sure gone down, then - when we were a fledgling adoption group in 1997, a female in our very first batch of dogs from Arizona had a raging case of babesiosis. She was SO sick, very jaundiced and dropped to a dangerously low weight (like, 35 lbs) during the course of her treatement. At that time Imidocarb was only used as a chemotherapy drug for humans. There was only one Vet in our State that was using it on dogs so we went to him. The shots were $400 each and she needed two of them :eek It was a rude introduction to the world of running an adoption group.

 

p.s. After she got to feeling better it turned out she had a very high prey drive! She tested cat safe initially but I guess she was just sick.

Rugrat's Rebel (Simon) 09/03/1995-03/22/2010, Silly Savannah 05/14/1995-02/13/2009, Isabella de Moreau the Sloughi 05/15/1993-10/14/2008, Hammy the IG 06/11/04 and ChiChi the Chihuahua 2003

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I am a retired paramedic and retired vet tech. Having given the shots for Babesia Canis, I PERSONALLY would DEFINITELY do a PCR first. Just MY two cents ... I would NOT put MY dogs through this unless I absolutely had to. As I mentioned previously, I did these shots on high-titer, Babesia Positive dogs, at the adoption group I was with in Florida. I HATED doing them!

 

Good Luck, and just follow your "gut," on this ...

Oh, I know a bit about your background and have a lot of respect for it! So could I impose a little further and ask you to elaborate on these shots, what's bad about them, and why you hated giving them? Right now it's a little abstract to me. I've heard they can be "bad," but I don't know why.

Mary with Jumper Jack (2/17/11) and angels Shane (PA's Busta Rime, 12/10/02 - 10/14/16) and Spencer (Dutch Laser, 11/25/00 - 3/29/13).

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Both ours had the Imidocarb injections (2, 2 weeks apart) and both reacted poorly, requiring Atropine. Bumper's titer was 1:1280 and he was not symptomatic. He was a foster at the time so not my decision to treat. Can't recall what Brucie's titer was but he developed an internal abscess in the muscle from the injection. Was a fluke, but let me tell you - the pain this caused him for about a week was unbelievable.

 

So, I'm probably not helping with an opinion, but hopefully our experience sheds a little more light on some of the potential side effects of the Imidocarb treatment. I truly don't know that I'd refrain from it because babesia is not a cool disease, but I guess I'm a little ticked (pun not intended) both our dogs did so poorly with the injections. Poor Bumper has an autoimmune disease now which we CAN'T blame on the Imidocarb, but all the chemicals from vaccines and the treatment in a short period, IN MY MIND, aggravated his immune system and it reacted.

 

Good luck with your decision.

Doe's Bruciebaby Doe's Bumper

Derek

Follow my Ironman journeys and life with dogs, cats and busy kids: A long road

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I am a retired paramedic and retired vet tech. Having given the shots for Babesia Canis, I PERSONALLY would DEFINITELY do a PCR first. Just MY two cents ... I would NOT put MY dogs through this unless I absolutely had to. As I mentioned previously, I did these shots on high-titer, Babesia Positive dogs, at the adoption group I was with in Florida. I HATED doing them!

 

Good Luck, and just follow your "gut," on this ...

Oh, I know a bit about your background and have a lot of respect for it! So could I impose a little further and ask you to elaborate on these shots, what's bad about them, and why you hated giving them? Right now it's a little abstract to me. I've heard they can be "bad," but I don't know why.

 

the shots are given through the muscle and my understanding is that they can be quite painful. phoenix actually limped for a few days following his first shot. there's somebody who used to be on GT whose dog did very poorly following his shots.

Edited by robinw

siggy_robinw_tbqslg.jpg
Xavi the galgo and Allen the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09.

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Holy cow, Elizabeth. Guess I'll have to look into that further!

 

And yes, hearing people's experiences with the shots and everything else is really valuable! I just feel bad because I'm clearly bringing up what is for some a sore subject or a painful reminder. But I do firmly believe that suffering shared is suffering at least partially redeemed if it helps others.

Edited by greyhead
Mary with Jumper Jack (2/17/11) and angels Shane (PA's Busta Rime, 12/10/02 - 10/14/16) and Spencer (Dutch Laser, 11/25/00 - 3/29/13).

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