Leishmaniosis is a serious disease caused by a one celled parasite that can affect most of our dogs; it appears less in cats. The one thing that produces the infection from one sick dog, or carrier of the disease, to another dog or to humans, is a mosquito known as a sandfly, well known as “phlebotomo”. The whole vital circle of this parasite takes place inside the mosquito and is only transferred by a bite from this mosquito.
Leishmaniosis is now prevalent in all countries around the Mediterranean coast and it has a high existence on dogs in the area we are in. It has even been found in the South of England, so we know that the disease is spreading.
The symptoms of infected dogs are: losing weight, inflammation of the lymph glands, skin eczema, nose bleeding, loss of appetite, nervous disorders, and many more. We can diagnose this disease by a direct vision of the parasite, by a lymph glands biopsy, or by taking a sample of blood from the animal and checking the antibodies in the blood.
There are different ways of treating this disease, depending on the state of the dog, and the functions of the kidneys and liver. We can give a single drug or a combination of different medications. The most commend treatment is with a combination of injections, “Glucantime” and “Allopurinol” in tablets. It normally takes about to 20 to 30 injections and 3 to 4 months with the tablets. We can also give a type of drug called “Levamisol”, which improves the immunity system of the dog to fight against the disease, “Anfotericina B” some antibiotics like “Marbofloxacino” and recently there is a new drug on the market called “Miltefosina”.
It is true that with this treatment we can improve the dogs’ health, but we can never take out the parasite. What we need to understand is that Leishmaniosis is a cronical disease, so the dog needs to be checked on a regular base.
We control the evolution of the parasite by looking at the physical state of the dog, especially by looking at the weight and the state of the skin and we can also diagnose a lot of things by taking a sample of blood and do some tests to find out if your dog is infected with Leishmaniosis.
There are now vaccinations to prevent your dog contracting Leishmaniosis and there are things we can do to try to protect your dog from being bitten by the mosquito. On the market there are some registered products specially made to repel the phlebotomos mosquito. There is a collar named “Scalibor” and a spot-on known as “Exspot” and another one named “Advantix”. In other forms there are some sprays that contain “Piretrodies”, which if you use them, they need to be done daily, especially as it gets dark.
Leishmaniosis is a disease which can also affect humans, but this is rare and it seems to only affect people who have a low immunity system, (People with HIV, Leukemia, and if you are having chemical treatment etc). The mosquito can only transmit this disease to you if you have been in direct contact, (a bite of this certain mosquito).
If you have a dog that is infected with Leishmania living with you, you shouldn’t worry about your health as there are a lot of infected dogs here and the mosquito also has a big range.
If you have any questions about this particular disease or products to protect your dog against this mosquito, we will be very pleased to help you. During November we have a special offer on the Leishmania vaccinations. See details in the Business News on page 6 of this month’s Chronicle.