Everyone has heard of canine leishmaniasis, but it is normal to have doubts or questions about this well-known disease. What exactly does it consist of? What symptoms does it cause? It can be cured? In this post we are going to explain what you need to know about this infectious pathology, derived from the bite of a sandfly-type mosquito.
Leishmaniasis is an infectious disease caused by a parasite, specifically the female of a sandfly type mosquito. It is a very serious pathology that can even lead the dog to death if it is not treated in time and in the proper way. It affects all types of dog breeds and its maximum expansion occurs in the months between the end of spring and the end of autumn.
What symptoms does leishmaniasis produce?
The main symptoms of this serious disease are:
- Skin lesions: skin sores, hair loss, ulcers, nodules, etc.
- Loss of weight and appetite.
- Difficulty breathing and swallowing.
- Ulcers in the entire area of the mouth and nose: tongue, gums, nasal septum, etc.
- Nasal congestion and bleeding.
- Muscle atrophy and exercise intolerance.
- Vomiting and diarrhea.
The symptoms of canine leishmaniasis usually develop slowly and progressively, sometimes over several months or even years.
Can it be treated?
The disease can be treated, but a timely diagnosis is essential that allows the veterinarian to intervene before the damage is irreversible.
Treatment of leishmaniasis in dogs
Once the veterinarian has carried out the relevant tests and made the diagnosis, the next step is to guide an appropriate treatment.
● Minimize or completely eliminate the symptoms (clinical signs) and all those laboratory abnormalities associated with the disease.
It is important to explain that, as a general rule, the treatments are not applied to dogs exposed to the disease or infected but without symptoms, but to already sick animals. That is, only to those dogs that have already developed symptoms.
The objectives of the treatment are the following:
● Achieve clinical stabilization of the animal, trying to reduce the parasite load as much as possible.
● Avoid relapses .
● Minimize the possibility that the leishmaniasis-infected dog will infect other animals or humans.
A standard duration of treatment cannot be established, as it depends on each case. It may last more or less time depending on the state of the dog and the stage of development of the disease in which it is.
Today, treatment for canine leishmaniasis can achieve a total clinical cure, which means achieving the four objectives set out in the previous section. However, there is still no parasymptomatic cure, which is one that manages to completely eliminate all the parasite load from the body. Therefore, a sick dog will always be infected, although the clinical signs may be under control.
How to prevent leishmaniasis in dogs effectively?
The best cure is always adequate protection. Prevention is the key.
To avoid the bite of the mosquito that transmits this disease, the most effective thing is to use a suitable antiparasitic such as Frontline Tri-Act , which, in addition to protecting against the leishmaniasis-transmitting sandfly, also protects against the bite of fleas and ticks.
Advantages of Frontline Tri-Act
- Full broad spectrum protection against external parasites, both sandflies and fleas and ticks.
- Repellent formula reinforced against sandflies and mosquitoes.
- Kills, repels and also has an anti-feeding effect, preventing itching and damage to the dog’s skin.
Remember the importance of regularly using adequate, effective and safe dewormers. And pay special attention during the spring and summer months, during which parasites proliferate.
When in doubt, always consult with your veterinary specialist.