A field trial evaluation of the prophylactic efficacy of amitraz-impregnated collars against canine babesiosis (Babesia canis rossi) in South Africa

06 May 2008

South African canine babesiosis caused by Babesia canis rossi is a common clinical disease in dogs in South Africa and remains a significant cause of domestic dog mortality. To determine whether tick-repellent, 9% amitraz-impregnated tick collars (Preventic-Virbac) could prevent tick-borne exposure to B. canis rossi, 50 dogs were assigned to two groups. Group 1 (20 dogs), polymerase chain reaction (PCR)- and reverse line blot (RLB)-negative for B. canis rossi, were fitted with amitraz collars and blood samples collected monthly , over a 6-month period, and analysed for B. canis rossi. Group 2 (30 dogs) included 5 dogs selected on a month-by-month basis from a population of dogs from the same geographical area as the group 1 dogs, but with no history of previous tick control, which were blood-sampled together with the treatment group and analysed for B. canis rossi by PCR and RLB, to serve as the control group. Eight of the 30 control dogs (26.6 %) were PCR / RLB positive for B. canis rossi, indicating high pathogen exposure during the trial period. All twenty of the treatment group dogs remained negative for B. canis rossi throughout the 6 months of the trial. These results suggest that the use of amitraz-impregnated collars had a significant effect on reducing infection with B. canis rossi.