Leishmania in Dogs

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: May 16, 2018
Leishmania in Dogs

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Leishmania is a serious disease that can affect dogs of all ages and sizes. Although dogs who suffer from leishmania often survive thanks to the veterinarians who help them alleviate symptoms. However, prevention is best as it is impossible to cure the disease completely.

Today, thanks to advanced medicine, we can say that many leishmania affected pets survive without problems and can later lead an almost normal life.

In this AnimalWise article we want to inform you so that you know everything you need to know about leishmania in dogs and how to identify its symptoms should your dog suffer from it.

What is Canine Leishmaniasis?

Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by a parasite called Leishmania.

This parasite travels in a mosquito that acts as a vector, i.e. it is the mosquito which transmits the parasite to the dog through its bite. The sandfly mosquito is responsible for the transmission of this disease, it is found in the environment during the hottest months, usually May to September.

It is a mosquito that lives naturally in the Mediterranean region. This means that if no environmental treatment takes place it is difficult to eradicate it and safeguard dogs that live in this region. There is no breed with a greater predisposition to suffer from this disease, all dogs who are exposed to this bite can contract this disease.

Leishmania in Dogs - What is Canine Leishmaniasis?

Symptoms of Leishmania

First it is important to mention that Leishmaniasis is a disease with an incubation period ranging from 3 to 18 months, so it is possible the dog will have no symptoms despite being infected. Once the disease is in a symptomatic stage, the dog manifest the following:

  • Hair loss, especially in legs and around the head
  • Significant weight loss, although no lost appetite
  • Skin wounds

In more advanced stages of the disease we can find a set of symptoms that reveal a state of renal insufficiency. In this stage the dogs may suffer from the following:

  • anemia
  • elevated blood pressure
  • in some cases, death.
Leishmania in Dogs - Symptoms of Leishmania

Leishmania Treatment

It is vital that you take your dog to the vet who, through blood and other tests, will make the appropriate diagnosis. Keep in mind that the earlier the disease is detected, the better the treatment will perform, as it is always more effective in the early stages.

Leishmaniasis is a chronic disease, but treatment can preserve the health of the animal. The treatment consists of a drug that needs to be administered by injection. It is applied for several weeks, and depending on the response of the animal it may be necessary to repeat the cycle.

Remember that prevention is key, sometimes this is as simple as purchasing a collar impregnated with a specific insecticide that is released gradually and acts for 6 months. And don’t forget to follow your dog’s deworming and vaccination schedule. Talk to your vet, he or she will advise you.

Leishmania in Dogs - Leishmania Treatment

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Leishmania in Dogs, we recommend you visit our Parasitic diseases category.

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