Share this information sheet and save a life!

What is biliary fever?

Biliary fever is a disease caused by group of blood born parasites that is transmitted by ticks. Babesia rossi, B.canis and B.Vogeli are of importance in Southern Africa.
The parasite reproduces in the red blood cells (RBC) and this destroys the RBC’S which leads to anemia, and other associated symptoms

Are there any vaccinations against the disease?

Unfortunately there is no available vaccine in South Africa currently.


Symptoms are similar to that of malaria in humans and takes 10 – 28 days to develop after infection. The disease can be acute, sub-acute or chronic.

The most common complaint we get from clients:” the dog is not as active as normal and his appetite is absent/ depressed”

General symptoms:
Fever, anemia, lethargy, depressed/poor appetite

Complicated symptoms:
Jaundice, Liver failure/injury, acute renal failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, cerebral form, pancreatitis, heamoglobinuria (blood in urine)

How is the disease treated?

Survivability, like malaria is greatly increased with timely treatment. If treatment is instituted early on the survival rate is 85-90% (mild anemia, fever, lethargy, reduced appetite).

Unfortunately up to 30% of the complicated biliary patients may pass away, with some of the severe complications proving to be invariably fatal

Depending on the symptoms/severity of the disease treatment consists of the following diminazine, trypan blue, imdocarb, cortisone, IV fluids and blood transfusions.

Please note that the agents we use to treat biliary fever have a very narrow safety margin and are best administered by a veterinarian as they can be fatal when overdosed.

Prevention of Biliary/Tick Fever

Currently we advise the use of 3 products, namely: Bravecto, Nexgard and Seresto Collars.These products are highly effective at killing ticks and thus preventing the disease.

Clients also can make use of “spot-ons”, dips and shampoos but we regard these products as less effective compared to the above mentioned products.

We recommend the following products


  • BRAVECTO is the FIRST oral chew to deliver flea and tick protection for up to 12 full weeks
  • 100% efficacy against fleas within 24 hours for 12 weeks
  • Kills 4 tick species
  • BRAVECTO offers easier dosing that helps solve the challenge of compliance


  • Protects dogs from ticks and fleas for 35 days1
  • Stays strong all month long, unlike some other products2-6
  • Starts killing ticks and fleas fast
  • Only monthly tick and flea chewable approved to kill 5 types of ticks


  • Works inside and out to protect against internal and external nasties
  • Is waterproof after two hours and won’t wash off
  • Is as easy as 1, 2, 3 to administer
  • Stays effective for an entire month
  • Kills fleas in your pet’s living environments as well
  • Is available in a range of dose sizes to suit any cat or dog