You have probably all heard about Canine Leishmaniasis, but probably only a few of you really know what this disease is, its cause, or the consequences and treatment. We are going to explain the general characteristics of Leishmaniasis so that you have a little more information.
What Is Leishmaniasis?
It’s a serious parasitic disease contracted through the bite of a female sand fly, phlebotomus, which introduces the Leishmania parasite into a dog’s bloodstream.
What Effects Does the Bite Have on the Dog?
Leishmaniasis, being a parasitic disease, can have serious consequences for your animal, even causing death if not treated in time. The most common symptoms are fever, hair loss (especially around the eyes), weight loss, skin ulcers, and abnormal nail growth. Dogs can also suffer from anaemia, arthritis, and severe kidney failure, which can lead, as mentioned above, to the dog’s death.
Symptoms that help you notice at a glance that a dog has Leishmaniasis include:
- States of malnutrition.
- Cutaneous leishmaniasis: alopecia, abnormal nail growth, ulcers that don’t heal, loss of coat quality, etc.
At What Times of Year Is It Most Common?
The time of the year when mosquitoes are most likely to bite is when the good weather starts, normally from around May to September or October, if the summer lasts longer. During the winter, mosquitoes remain in a quaternary and harmless larval stage, however, they can be found all year round in warmer areas, so you should always be alert.
Preventive Measures to Avoid Mosquito Attacks on Dogs
- Regular topical use of insecticide-repellents. These products prevent the fly from sucking blood and transmitting Leishmania. They are available in the form of collars and sprays.
- Vaccination is undoubtedly the best option for prevention.
If You Think Your Dog May Be Infected
- Go to a veterinary clinic for tests as soon as possible. If the disease is advanced, you will also need a sample of bone marrow or lymph node tissue.
- There are different treatment durations, depending on the stage of the disease.
- Remember that Leishmaniasis can be treated but not cured.
- The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the better it can be controlled.