Babesia gibsoni information

5 April 2024

A message from Biosecurity New Zealand, Ministry for Primary Industries:

Biosecurity New Zealand is investigating after the exotic red blood cell parasite _Babesia gibsoni _ was detected in a dog in the Canterbury region. Babesia gibsoni is an unwanted and notifiable organism in New Zealand.

Babesia gibsoni is a protozoal parasite that causes the rupture of red blood cells in dogs. It is widespread around the rest of the world, including Australia. While most infections with B. gibsoni are mild or subclinical, some can be severe.

We’ve developed an information sheet to provide vets with important information about B. gibsoni, which you will find attached. We encourage you to undertake your own reading and research to develop a fuller understanding of the disease.

We are asking vets to help our investigation by contacting us if you have any suspected cases, by calling the exotic pest and disease hotline on 0800 80 99 66.

In parallel to relying on you to keep an eye out for clinical signs of B. gibsoni, we are following up and testing dogs that have been in high risk contact with the known infected dog (forward and back tracing), as well as ensuring that veterinary clinical pathologists who examine blood smears from dogs across New Zealand on a daily basis are on the alert for the parasite.

We know that some of you will have clients who are planning for their dogs to travel abroad. We are working with those countries that have requirements for B gibsoni freedom to resolve this on a case-by-case basis while we understand more about this finding in New Zealand.

Babesia gibsoni factsheet