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Leishmaniasis in Dogs, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

Leishmaniasis in dogs is a disease caused by a parasite called Leishmania which is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito of the genus Phlebotomus. The leishmaniasis in dogs can be very serious and even fatal if not detected and treated early. It is an incurable and chronic disease and the dog does not transmit it to humans or other animals.

Leishmaniasis is an endemic and seasonal disease so depending on the climatic and geographical area where the dog is. There will be more or less likely that it will contract. For this reason, we say that the possibility of infection will increase if our dog lives in the open area, in a humid area, and in hot weather.

Leishmaniasis in Dogs
Leishmaniasis in Dogs

This disease affects vertebrates. So sometimes other animals, unlike dogs are also infected and have very little incidence in humans but in these, it is not usually as virulent as in dogs. Since the immune system is capable of combating infection but can be delicate in people with weak immune systems, such as cancer patients and AIDS. So in this article, We are going to learn all about Leishmaniasis in Dogs. Continue Reading!!!

Causes of Leishmaniasis in dogs

The cause of this condition is the female mosquitoes of the vector to need blood for the maturation of their eggs. This itches the dog that is infected sucks the blood and inside after passing the parasite by different transformations leaves the mosquito full of parasites ready to bite his next victim by infecting her.

Causes Of Leishmaniasis In Dogs

This disease can be a martyrdom for the dog that suffers it and its owner. Already requires a palliative treatment (treat the symptoms) and not curative because once it is contracted constant controls must be made to prevent possible regrowth after receiving the treatment, meaning that symptoms must be controlled for life. Leishmaniasis has no cure and although the treatment does not mean that the dog does not relapse. So the treatment must be continued throughout the life of the animal and unfortunately, it is very expensive. Not on Leishmaniasis, there are more common diseases in dogs which every dog owner has to know.

Symptoms of Leishmaniasis in Dogs

Leishmaniasis can cause death in most infected dogs that do not receive treatment and surveillance later. This disease can be of two types: Cutaneous (affecting the skin) and Visceral (the viscera, especially the liver and kidneys are affected). This condition does not distinguish between races and ages, so any dog can be affected.

If you observe any of the following clinical signs, it is better that you go as soon as possible with your dog to get veterinary attention and make an opportune diagnosis:

  • Ulcers on the edge of the ears, head or limbs.
  • Inflammation of the eyes
  • Nail growth abnormally.
  • Loss of hair in the area of the head (dandruff).
  • Wounds that do not heal.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Weakness.
  • Weight Loss.
  • Fever.
  • Nose bleed.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Conjunctivitis.
  • Dermatitis.
  • Muscular atrophy, especially on the face (aged appearance and sad expression),
  • Fatigue or fatigue.
  • Inflammation of the joints or lameness
  • Increase in the size of the lymph nodes (neck and the inner side of the legs).
  • Inflammation of the abdomen (possible hepatomegaly)

So these are the symptoms which are mainly seen in the dogs if it is attacked by Leishmaniasis.

Diagnosis of Leishmaniasis

Take your dog to the veterinarian in case if you see the above symptoms and this will perform a simple and quick test to prove the presence of the infection. If the result is positive, they will perform other rigor tests for a definitive diagnosis of the disease.

If the level in which your dog has been affected by this condition is not very high then your dog can lead a normal life. But obviously with periodic checks to detect new outbreaks.

Remember that not all animals will exhibit the same symptoms and some may not show them and remain healthy for years. Dogs with weakened immune systems and old dogs are more susceptible. Dogs with good immunity even if they are equally infected, could get to live their whole life with the parasite without it causing complications.

Prevention of Leishmaniasis in Dogs

This disease can be prevented with a vaccine, which can be applied to healthy puppies from six months of age. This vaccine develops cellular immunity, teaching the immune system to defend itself correctly from the parasite. That is, the cells destroy the disease, so the vaccine will protect our dog when it is bitten by an infected mosquito.

Prevention Of Leishmaniasis In Dogs

Three doses are needed in the first year of vaccination and should be revaccinated annually. In some countries, the vaccine can be very expensive but the treatment can be even more. So if we want our dog and we want to avoid the suffering of such magnitude such prevention is justified.

Keep in mind that dogs with antibodies cannot be vaccinated because in this case, the vaccine will not cure them. In a few words if the animal is suffering from the disease the vaccine will not help. It is also important to emphasize that dog can only be vaccinated if they are in good health and pregnant females cannot be vaccinated either.

The prevention of leishmaniasis in dogs can not only be carried out through a good canine vaccination scheme but also with annual blood tests in regions of high risk for this disease especially in humid areas and in hot months.

Other Measures to Protect and Prevent Leishmaniasis in Dogs

  • Place mosquito-repellent antiparasitic collars on the dogs.
  • Use external antiparasitic products regularly that also act as repellents.
  • Fumigate in areas with greater mosquito activity.
  • Use candles or spirals on the terraces to scare away mosquitoes.
  • Inside the houses, it is better to use plugs that protect the whole family as electric insecticides.
  • Avoid visiting humid and swampy areas in summer.
  • Use mosquito nets in the windows of country houses and beach.
  • Do not walk with your pet near the rivers or wet areas at sunset as it increases the activity of mosquitoes at those times when night falls.
  • The activity of the mosquitoes increases during the night, so it is better than the animal sleep at home.

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Treatment of Leishmaniasis in Dogs

Although the treatment is expensive and does not protect the dog from possible relapse. It does increase the likelihood that your dog will survive reducing symptoms noticeably. Some live for many years and enjoy a good quality of life. The consequences that the dog suffers after the disease depends on the state in which their organs have been affected. So if the diagnosis is delayed and the necessary treatment is not applied soon. It can be fatal especially in cases of visceral leishmaniasis.

Treatment Of Leishmaniasis In Dogs

Do not forget to always go with your trusted veterinarian and ask for information about the incidence of this disease in your locality. Go to him for more information about the treatment if your dog suffers from this disease. And remember to share this information in order to make people aware of the importance of preventing this disease and thus avoid bad times with our pets.


Hence, you got the complete information about Leishmaniasis in Dogs along with their Causes in Dogs, Symptoms in dogs and treatment to cure Leishmaniasis in dogs. We hope you like this article. Share the article with your friends and families at social networking sites. Feel free to ask your questions in the comment box below. We will reply to you as soon as possible. Stay tuned to dogsfud for more awesome articles.

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