Beware of ticks in infested area with walkers

Spotlight on vector-borne disease

spotlight topic:

‘In the Spotlight’ features bring together collections of published papers on topics of interest and importance to the veterinary professions.

If you would like to suggest a paper for inclusion in one of our published Spotlight features, or a topic for a future Spotlight feature, please email

Spotlight on vector-borne disease

Published 25/9/2020

The recent report of the first human case of UK-acquired babesiosis, along with a probable case of tick-borne encephalitis, highlights the importance of being aware of vector-borne diseases

Vector-borne diseases are infections caused by parasites, bacteria and viruses, which are transmitted by an arthropod vector, such as ticks, mosquitoes, and sand flies. In domestic pets these are most commonly diagnosed in animals that have travelled abroad or been imported.

An article recently reviewed in inFOCUS reported on the prevalence of a number of vector-borne diseases, based on owner reports of testing following importation to the UK. While this may not be the most accurate way of assessing infection (for example it is reasonable to assume that the positive tests for rabies are more likely to have been blood tests to assess response to vaccination) they do give an indication of the prevalence of these diseases in imported dogs.

Further evidence of the risk of vector-borne disease in imported dogs is provided by a study of dogs from a single kennel in South-Central Romania, which rehomes dogs both within Romania and abroad.

As these diseases are seen infrequently in practice in the UK, it can sometimes be challenging to access the relevant information regarding diagnosis and treatment. This Spotlight brings together a range of papers, and other evidence-based resources, that provide a useful reference for up to date knowledge on these diseases.


Norman, C., Stavisky, J., and Westgarth, C. (2020) Importing rescue dogs into the UK: reasons, methods and welfare considerations. Veterinary Record, 186, p. 248.

UK Government (2020) Rare tick-borne infections diagnosed in England [online] Available at: [accessed 7 September 2020]

Image copyright attribute:
Heiko Barth

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.