Canine leishmaniasis is the disease caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania. In dogs it can be classified into two types: a skin reaction and a visceral reaction (abdominal). The infection is acquired when the sand flies transmit the parasites to the skin of the animals. The incubation period, from the symptoms to the infection, is from one month to several years.
In dogs it extends throughout the body and in most organs. The main systems of affected organs are the skin, the kidneys, the spleen, the liver, the eyes and the joints. Failures in the kidney is the most common cause of death. Up to 90% of infected animals will also have some manifestation of the cutaneous type.
The age, sex or breed of the dog are indifferent when it comes to contracting the disease. However, males are more likely to have a visceral reaction.
Some data of canine leishmaniasis
In particular, the parasite of the Canine leishmaniasis is found in the Mediterranean basin, Portugal and Spain. There have also been sporadic cases confirmed in Switzerland, northern France and the Netherlands. Endemic areas are found in South America, Central and in southern Mexico.
It is important to keep in mind that leishmaniasis is a zoonosis, and microorganisms that reside in the lesions can be spread to humans. These organisms will never be totally eliminated and relapse, which requires treatment, is inevitable.
Among some symptoms include weight loss and appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, nosebleeds or exercise intolerance. This disease also produces hyperkeratosis which is excessive epidermal scaling with thickening, depigmentation (loss of skin color) and cracks in the muzzle and pads.
Leishmaniasis can cause nodules on the surface of the skin. The nails of dogs with this disease tend to look long and fragile. Other associated symptoms are lymphadenopathy, lymph node disease with skin lesions in 90% of cases, emaciation, signs of kidney failure, excess urination, excessive thirst, neuralgia, painful nerve disorder, joint pain , inflammation of muscles, bones and fever.
Traveling to endemic regions, such as the Mediterranean, where the dog may be exposed to mosquitoes is the most common way to get the infection. However, when you receive a transfusion from another infected animal you can also acquire it.
To diagnose canine leishmaniasis The veterinarian will make a complete physical examination of the dog, taking into account the history of the symptoms and the possible incidents that could have led to this condition. A complete blood profile will be carried out, including a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. The professional will look for evidence of diseases such as lupus, cancer and distemper, among other possible causes of symptoms. Samples of tissue from the skin, spleen, bone marrow, or lymph nodes will be taken for laboratory culture. A biopsy will also be made on the surface of the skin.
The treatment for the animals that contract the disease, in general, is usually external, unless the dog is extremely sick. If you look emaciated and chronically infected, euthanasia may have to be considered because the prognosis is not favorable.
If your dog is not seriously infected, Your veterinarian will prescribe a diet rich in high quality proteins, specifically designed to treat kidney failure.
On the other hand also There are medications that can be useful in the treatment of symptoms and disease. Your pet's veterinarian will advise you on the most appropriate plan.
It should be noted that the dogs with leishmaniasis should be monitored regularly until they show clinical improvement. For this, you will probably have repeated biopsies.
Perhaps, after a few months or a year, the animal experiences a relapse. Thus, To obtain a successful cure, the procedure must be closely monitored. That is why the veterinarian will check the condition of the pet at least every two months after finishing the initial treatment.