Leishmaniosis in dogs - Symptoms, treatment and contagion


The only people who can be severely affected by leishmaniasis are those who have a weak immune system.

  • Last update: April 11, 2012

The focus of transmission of leishmaniasis, both in people and dogs, is a female mosquito. This is an endemic and seasonal disease, with very little incidence in humans. Although there may be peaks, such as the one in Fuenlabrada (Madrid), where since 2010 there has been an increase in the incidence of leishmaniasis in people. In the case of dogs, the disease can be very serious if it is not detected and treated in time.

Canine leishmaniasis is a serious disease caused by a parasite, which is transmitted through the mosquito bite. It requires palliative and non-curative treatment and, once it is contracted, it is necessary to make periodic checks to prevent possible regrowths after receiving the treatment.

Leishmaniasis in people

A person cannot get leishmaniasis through his dog, but from the bite of a female mosquito that belongs to the genus Phlebotomus. In the event that the dog suffers from leishmaniasis, "there is no danger of contagion to people if the animal is treated," says Manuel Lázaro, veterinarian at the Mirasierra veterinary clinic. For its part, from the Official College of Physicians of Madrid ensures that "leishmaniasis is a endemic disease of dogs and it is not a health problem for people. "

Treatment against leishmaniasis can be very expensive and depends on the size of the animal

This means that it only has an impact on certain geographical areas of Spain and, above all, at certain times of the year when temperatures are higher, such as in spring and summer.

Regarding people, only those who have the weak immune system They may be affected by the disease on a serious basis. In the rest of the cases, the result of the bite often results in a dermatological condition. Luis Quesada, a doctor at the La Princesa hospital in Madrid, indicates that people "are not the final host of the parasite, but their guests, and if the immune system works well, it can end it."

Leishmaniasis is a seasonal disease, that is, it is at risk for the canine population in times when mosquitoes are active (from spring to autumn). It is a chronic and incurable disease, which the dog does not transmit to people or other animals. There can only be a risk of infection when the person has very low defenses, as in the case of tuberculosis or AIDS.

In areas such as the Basque Country or Cantabria, the risk of dogs living there contracting leishmaniasis is very low. And it is that in these areas does not inhabit the mosquito (female) that causes it. However, in the regions of the Spanish Mediterranean BasinYes, there is a high risk for dogs to get the disease.

He Official College of Veterinarians of Madrid, according to an official statement on the cases of leishmaniasis in people detected in the municipality of Fuenlabrada in Madrid, it highlights that it is "a disease of low incidence in the population, to which immunosuppressed people and chronic patients are especially sensitive. If the disease is diagnosed in time, responds well to treatment. "

On the other hand, as regards the hypothetical transmission of the disease from dogs to people, the veterinary school emphasizes that "the usual reservoir is the dog, but for the disease to be transmitted, the participation of the vector (phlebotome mosquito) is essential. , dogs do not spread the disease directly to other animals or people by any means. "

Vaccine against canine leishmaniasis

The new leishmaniasis vaccine has been well received among dog owners who know how serious this disease can be for their animals. The aftermath suffered by the dog After the disease they depend on the degree to which their organs have been affected. But if leishmaniasis is not detected soon and the necessary treatment is not applied in time, it can be fatal.

The vaccine can be placed on dogs since 2012, until then there was none. Manuel Lázaro believes in this regard that "this vaccine has good expectations as to its effectiveness, although the rest of the preventive measures against insect bites. "The veterinarian explains that the vaccine is applied in three doses and should be revaccinated annually.

This vaccine is not mandatory. and its cost, for each one of the applications, oscillates around 50 euros, but the rates may differ in each veterinary clinic. Manuel Lázaro believes that "any preventive measure taken against this disease, so serious and so expensive, is justified." "And if the vaccine helps prevent leishmaniasis, its application is fully recommended," he adds.

Leishmaniasis is a chronic and incurable disease that the dog does not transmit to people or other animals

The new leishmaniasis vaccine can be applied to healthy puppies from six months of age. Of the dogs vaccinated against leishmania, 92.7% will not develop clinical symptoms, says Juan Antonio Aguado, veterinarian and professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Complutense University of Madrid.

On the contrary, without the vaccine, about 20% of dogs infected by the disease had symptoms. "The vaccine develops cellular immunity, that is, the cells destroy the disease, "explains Juan Antonio Aguado, a veterinarian, who adds that" dogs with antibodies cannot be vaccinated, because the vaccine will not cure them. "

Prevention, the best weapon against leishmaniasis

Prevention against the disease can not only be carried out through the vaccine, but also through annual controls with blood tests, especially after summer, since mosquitoes proliferate with heat, especially in areas where there is more humidity.

Treatment against leishmaniasis can be very expensive and depends on the size of the animal. The bigger the dog, the more expensive it will be. If the degree to which the dog has been affected by the disease is not very high, it can lead a normal life, but with controls to detect new outbreaks.

Prevention and symptoms of leishmaniasis

In addition to getting vaccinated, prevention against the disease consists in the fight against the mosquito that transmits it. This requires:

  • Place the dogs mosquito repellent collars.
  • Use mosquito nets in the windows of country houses and beach.
  • Do not walk near rivers or wet areas at sunset, which is when mosquitoes have more activity.
  • Using external antiparasitic products regularly also acts as repellents.
  • Fumigate in areas with high mosquito density.
  • Use candles or spirals on the terraces that scare them away.
  • Inside the houses, it is advisable to use mosquito plugs that protect the whole family.

The symptoms of canine leishmaniasis are:

  • Small hair loss in the head area, dandruff.
  • Abnormal nail growth
  • Dermatitis or inflammation of the skin.
  • Wounds that do not heal.
  • Ulcers on the head and limbs.
  • Inflammation of the eyes
  • Muscular atrophy, especially by the face (aged appearance and sad expression), tiredness, fatigue and a lot of weakness.
  • Very noticeable loss of weight, fever, nosebleeds, inflammation of the joints or lameness.
  • Enlargement of the lymph nodes (neck, inner side of the legs).

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is advisable to go to the veterinarian without delay.

What is leishmaniasis in dogs?

Leishmaniasis or leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease caused by protozoa of the genus Leishmania. More common in warm climates such as those found in the Mediterranean, South America, Africa or Asia, the number of cases is increasing. It is mainly transmitted by the bite of a mosquitophlebotome female, who needs blood to finish laying eggs. It can manifest itself in several clinical forms. In addition to dogs, leishmania can affect other animals such as cats and, also, humans.

The mosquito that transmits leishmania in dogs usually has activity at sunrise and sunset Warm days It inhabits rural areas or groves where it finds cavities in which to hide during the day. In the cold times it remains in a larval state. It is certain that climate change will favor its expansion, increasing the cases of canine, feline and human leishmaniasis. Therefore, avoiding its bite is the best way to prevent the spread of leishmania in dogs. It is difficult for us to observe it on the dog because it is small and acts quickly. In some cases we can locate a sting.

V> cycle

We have already seen what protozoa of the genus Leishmania They are the cause of this parasitic disease, but what is its biological cycle? When the mosquito bites an infected dog Acquire the leishmanias found in his blood. In the stomach of the insect, the parasites are released, evolve to their elongated shape and with scourge (promastigotes) and reproduce. If the mosquito bites again, leishmania will infect a new dog. After the bite, the parasites invade themacrophages, which are a type of white blood cell, and return to adopt an ovoid form (amastigotes) that will be dispersed throughout the body. If a mosquito bites this contaminated dog, the parasite cycle will continue as described. Therefore, as we see, leishmania needs two hosts to complete its life cycle:

  • The cells of a vertebrate, mainly the dog, which would be the reservoir.
  • The digestive system of a phlebotome mosquito, which would act as vector.

Symptoms of leishmania in dogs

After a very variable incubation period, a sick dog will manifest symptoms such as the following, which will allow us to determine how to know if a dog has leishmaniosis:

  • Loss of hair around the eyes, ears and nose.
  • The remaining hair will look fine and matte.
  • With advanced leishmaniasis in dogs we will appreciate thinning, despite eating normally.
  • Increase in node size.
  • Overgrowth of nails.
  • Wounds that do not heal, especially in contact areas and around the eyes, which may present conjunctivitis.
  • Lethargy.
  • Limp.
  • Joint pain.
  • Nosebleed.
  • Hyperkeratosis, that is, thickening of the skin in the nose and fingers.
  • In chronic leishmaniasis it is common for renal failure, digestive or hepatic disorders to appear.

It is necessary to know that some dogs are infested by the parasite but they do not show symptoms, which means that they can be a source of contagion without us knowing that they are sick. Therefore, it is recommended to analyze all dogs that live in risk areas to know whether or not they are carriers of Leishmania.

Types of leishmaniasis in dogs

Depending on the symptoms developed, we will be faced with one type and another of leishmania in dogs:

    Visceral leishmaniasis: it is the one that causes internal clinical signs, that is, digestive, kidney and liver disorders, fever, lethargy, loss>

How is leishmaniosis spread in dogs?

How is leishmaniosis spread from one dog to another? The transmission of leishmaniasis occurs through the phlebotome, although it seems that bitches can infect their young and it is also possible that there is sexual or bite transmission. The dog cannot directly infect a person but leishmaniasis can affects humans, that is why it is considered a zoonosis. In this way, if you wonder if leishmania is spread to humans, you have already seen that the answer is yes.

If the mosquito bites an infected dog and then a healthy one, the parasite may be transmitted. The same happens if it bites a person. This is why it is said that the dogs arereservoirs of this disease The people most at risk of infection are those with a weakened or immature immune system. A single phlebotome can spread several dogs before death.

Diagnosis of leishmaniasis in dogs

If there is a suspicion that a dog may be suffering from leishmaniasis, the veterinarian will take a blood sample to do a quick test in the clinic. In a few minutes you get a result, although you have to know that it will not be used to detect the parasite in the early stages of the disease or tell us how many protozoa there are or the status of the infection.

To detect the parasite you can also take a bone marrow sample or lymph nodes and observe it under a microscope or use different more expensive laboratory techniques.

Treatment of leishmaniasis in dogs

The first thing a caregiver wants to know in these cases is if leishmaniasis in dogs is cured. Well, we have to know that, if it's not treated, the dog will probably die. In addition, the available treatments are aimed at suppress symptoms, but not to eliminate the parasite. Even so, sick dogs should receive medication to improve their quality of life, by alleviating clinical signs, and, very important, because it reduces the risk of transmission. The treatment can be prescribed for life and periodic checks are also marked. Other dogs are treated for several weeks but, since the parasite is not eliminated, relapses can occur. In these cases, the treatment will have to be repeated as soon as the symptoms appear.

Several combination drugs are used to treat leishmania in dogs. hinder parasite reproduction. They are usually given orally or by injection. It is important that if we detect any of the symptoms described above we go to the veterinarian, since early treatment improves the prognosis considerably.

The evolution of treatments has helped affected dogs stay longer without symptoms or relapses. This means that, there is no definitive cure for leishmaniasis in dogs, but infected dogs can have a good quality of life, and live for many years, if they receive adequate treatment.

What to do with a dog with leishmaniasis?

In addition to following the treatment stipulated by the veterinarian, it is essential to offer the best dog care with leishmaniasis to guarantee a good quality of life. These cares are none other than the basic ones that every dog ​​should receive, such as a comfortable and warm place to sleep, a relaxed and calm environment to avoid stress as much as possible, hydration through fresh and clean water always available and, of course, a adequate food

The diet is the one that deserves the most attention, since a dog with leishmania should receive a extra omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to strengthen the immune system. Likewise, antioxidants will also favor their defenses against the parasite. Finally, easily digestible proteins, such as chicken or turkey, will help the animal avoid digestive disorders and eat better. For more details, do not miss the following article: "Dog food with leishmania".

Prevention of leishmaniasis in dogs

First, if we live in a risk zone or receive a dog from an area with a high percentage of leishmania, we should take it to the veterinarian to find out whether or not it is a carrier. In any case, we must use a antiparasitic product to act against the phlebotome.

It is marketed in collar or in pipette. The first takes about a week to take effect and this lasts about 4-8 months, depending on the brand. The pipette, on the other hand, begins its activity in 24-48 hours, but its duration is shorter, about 3-4 weeks. We can also resort to the use of sprayers, which act immediately and for about 3 weeks, although in larger dogs, which are the ones that live the most abroad, with the greatest risk of infection, it is laborious to impregnate them of the product.

These antiparasitic act to prevent the mosquito from ingesting blood, so that the transmission of the parasite and, therefore, the spread of leishmania in dogs cannot occur. You can also use insecticides at home, kennels, booths, etc. In addition, you have to implement measures like the following:

  • Prevent the dog from sleeping outside in risky seasons, which are the hottest.
  • At that same time, do not walk it at dusk or dawn because they are times when we are more likely to find phlebotomes.
  • Do not accumulate organic matter, since the mosquito larvae feed on it.
  • Sterilize the dog, since it contemplates the possibility of transmission by sexual and maternofilial route.
  • Put mosquito nets on doors and windows.
  • Ultraviolet light traps can be used because mosquitoes are very attracted to light.
  • Vaccination after six months and revaccination following the advice of the veterinarian.

To scare away mosquitoes and keep them away from dogs, cats and humans, we can use the natural and nothing harmful remedies that we share in the following article: "How to scare away mosquitoes?".

How long can a dog with leishmaniasis last?

As we have said, leishmaniasis in dogs, if left untreated, can cause the animal to die. In cases where treatment is established, success will depend on the immune system response of the dog before the medication and the severity of the infection. Therefore, it is impossible to give a standard life expectancy for all dogs with leishmaniasis. Although some may die from the complications caused by the parasite, currently the treatments get many to live without more problems than following a medication and periodic reviews.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Leishmaniosis in dogs - Symptoms, treatment and contagion, we recommend that you enter our section of parasitic diseases.

What is it? Leishmania or Leishmaniosis?

Society tends to confuse Leishmania with Leishmaniosis. Therefore, next we will make a distinction from them.

Leishmania is an infection, not a disease, in which clinical signs do not usually appear in the animal since it has an undetectable humoral immune response and a very low parasitic load.

On the other hand, in Leishmaniosis if we can find manifest signs of the disease, it has an activated humoral immune response and its parasitic load is high.

In most of the cases that reach veterinarians we find that it is simply a Leishmania infection and not the disease, but this does not mean that it can reproduce quickly in said disease. So the difference between the two is abysmal, since the infection is less severe and curable, while the disease is not.

Are there different types of Leishmania?

Although the concept of Leishmania tends to be considered as a species in general, the truth is that there are different species that correspond to the genus Leishmania. More specifically, we talk about the Leishmania Infantum, Tropica and Major.

However, there is usually not a big difference between the different types of Leishmania.

How does it affect in Spain?

Specifically, the only dog ​​Leishmaniosis that we can find in Spain is the "Leishmaniosis infantum". Further, It is not present in all Spanish communities, being the most affected by this disease: Aragón, Cataluña, Madrid, Baleares, Andalucía, Levante, Murcia, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura and Castilla y León.

When is the time of greatest risk of contagion of Leishmaniosis?

These insects are more dangerous at night or twilight, since it is when they have a greater habit of activity. Apart from this schedule, its most common and most dangerous season is when the heat begins, more or less between May and October.

However, we must bear in mind that the risk will be constant in those places where the weather is warm during all times of the year.

Can it be transmitted to humans?

The reality is that people can suffer from Leishmaniosis, because it is a zoonosis. Of course, it is very rare that this disease occurs and is relevant, you just have to take special care with immunocompromised people.

The most common thing that can happen to you if this mosquito bites you is that you have a strong reaction to the bite, so the consequences are not greater than a simple discomfort.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 3 million people suffer from this disease. Normally, Leishmaniosis occurs in skin diseases of different kinds.

In the case of human beings, cases of transmission of Leishmaniosis through infected needles in blood have been detected.

Can it also affect cats?

For all those who have a cat and are wondering if it can also affect them, you can rest easy, these are perfect hosts for this parasite but only show skin lesions, so for felines it is not a serious disease.

What are the symptoms of Leishmaniosis?

The symptoms of Leishmaniosis are highly varied, so they can often be confused with other diseases. It is very important to know that since, at the slightest doubt, it is necessary to go to a veterinarian.

There are different types of symptoms that can be classified according to the areas in which it affects our dog.

One of the first symptoms that can be observed if a dog has contracted Leishmaniosis is of a cutaneous nature, through the hair loss of the animal, especially in ears and around the eyes.

Other cutaneous symptoms of canine Leishmaniasis refer to hyperkeratosis, characterized by the appearance of cracks in snouts, peeling or depigmentation, as well as superficial ulcers or excessive nail lengthening.

You can also see numerous symptoms related to visceral diseases.

That is, they affect the internal organs of the dog and can be determined by appreciating weight loss, anemias, loss of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting, as well as excess fatigue when exercising and even by bleeding from the nose. Kidney failure can even be found due to excess thirst or urine.

In addition, other signs that can help us determine that our dog suffers from Leishamniosis is conjunctivitis, nervous discomfort or pain in muscles and joints.

What do I do if I think my dog ​​has this disease?

First of all, if you detect any of the aforementioned symptoms and think you may be infected by Leishmaniosis, you should take the dog quickly to the vet to be able to perform a blood test. It is essential to catch the disease as soon as possible, so at the slightest doubt go to your veterinarian.

The period of incubation of the disease is from 3 to 18 monthsYou can even have the parasite for years and not wake up until later. This disease, unfortunately and at the moment, has no cure, so the disease does not disappear since the parasite will live in the dog's organism all its life. The treatment used in these cases is by injections for several weeks, but all you can do is reduce the symptoms of the disease, not cure it.

However, the dog after the treatment will have to carry out a series of revisions, since the symptoms could appear again at any time. It is very important to take the dog to the vet to apply treatment, since most dogs that get the disease and are not treated end up dying.

How to avoid the risk of infection?

If the animal does not receive any protection, the risk of contagion can increase from 3% to 18%, increasing in those rural and peri-urban areas, as well as in the warm regions and in those cases in which people walk their pets at dusk. It is advisable that in the summer period the dog does not walk from sunset to dusk.

How do I protect my dog?

As far as possible, insecticides can be used to eliminate those mosquitoes who have entered the house.

The really important thing is to use means that prevent the direct bite of the dog. There is no remedy that has 100% effectiveness but there are different solutions on the market with a high percentage of capacity against this disease.

Is there a vaccine against Leishmaniosis?

One of the main problems of this canine disease has been that there was no vaccine against it.

While it is true that four years ago a vaccine against Leishmaniosis was presented and that it had a 70% efficacy, there has always been some distrust of this treatment.

Among the disadvantages of the vaccine, we can find that it was only applicable to dogs with ages greater than six months of age and less than ten years, in addition to dogs weighing more than 10 kilos, so many could not be vaccinated of small buts

As if that were not enough, the side effects divided many people about their implantation.

However, a few months ago a new vaccine called “Letifend” was presented that has managed to correct various errors of the previous formula.

Thus, the new formula has been created without including any fragments of Leishmania or dead parasites, unlike what happened with the previous one, so the new vaccine no longer produces large-scale side effects.

Here you can see more information about this vaccine against Leishmaniosis.

A series of spray products, pipettes or collars that provide the animal with some protection are also marketed, acting as repellents that prevent possible stings.

We know that Leishmaniosis in dogs is excessively complex and has really serious consequences, so we hope that all doubts about canine Leishmaniosis have dissipated.

If you think we have left something in the inkwell or you still have doubts, tell us and we will try to answer you.

*Warning. The article shows opinions and recommendations of the Agroveco professional team, they are not diagnostic. For each particular case or problem, we recommend that you contact a professional who makes the diagnosis "in situ".

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Hello, my dog ​​is quite bad, he started inside the ears with an ugly color like mud and in days I saw him increase all over my face and body I took him to the veterinarian and he left analytics and stained lismania affected him with anemia and plaques You go down to nothing more for now. And I was very lazy. I sent antibiotics some pr life pills and I got some injections to put it on for a month. My dog ​​is not well, and I have vomited and with a little blood the veterinarian told me. It is for the platelets my question goes. I love my animal about all things I love him we are suffering all at home especially he believes sincerely that he will improve because the first thing is he does not want me to suffer so much and that it could happen more. my daughters every day cry to see their puppy with those eyes that color and that hair loss so abundant to be given Slim is painful to see I am doing what I can and I do not know what is best for my prince please help me six the best p for the

Leishmania is a disease that if detected in time with proper treatment often has a good prognosis. It takes some time and apply the treatment properly.
The veterinarian who takes the case can give you more clues about the prognosis.

If it will be good if you treat him and take his reviews. Mine happened to me tb and with patience (I was already desperate). Now it's great. You just have to medicate and go to the vet

Beware that a vaccine has come out much better than the one just two months ago and protects seventy percent!

You are absolutely right, a few months ago a new vaccine against Leishmaniosis was presented. We have updated it in the post.

What is leishmaniasis and how is it spread?

Leishmaniasis is the medical term used to name the disease caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania. It can be classified into two types: one skin reaction (skin) or a visceral reaction (abdominal organ), also known as black fever, the most severe form of leishmaniasis.

They have identified more than 23 species of Leishmania, most of which are zoonotic The Leishmania parasite, also known as L chagasi, affects domestic animals. The dogs are the lead agency of leishmaniasis caused by L infantum, What is it life threatening in animals and people Cats, horses and other mammals can also be infected by the virus. The disease in cats is more rare than in dogs and can also manifest itself in cutaneous or visceral organs.

Leishmania infection manifests itself especially in the Mediterranean basin, Portugal and Spain. Sporadic cases have also been confirmed in Switzerland, northern France and the Netherlands.

Can it be given in humans?

It is important to keep in mind that leishmaniasis is a zoonotic infection and the organisms that reside in lesions can be transmitted to humans. Leishmaniasis is transmitted to the human being through a bite, in this case by the infecting female who, previously, has ingested blood from an infected organism with parasites

Female sandflies require blood to reproduce. Therefore, after feeding on the infected organism, the parasites ingested next to the blood multiply in a few days in the human intestine to subsequently migrate to the proboscis or insect tube to be inoculated with the bite.

Once these microorganisms are introduced by the insect into the skin of a healthy person, they will immediately captured by macrophages (some cells of the immune system) and it multiply inside these cells until they destroy them, at which time they go out to colonize new macrophages.

La infección entre personas también se puede dar a partir de parásitos que el insecto ha tomado de otro huésped humano, que es lo que se conoce como ciclo antroponótico, sin embargo, este tipo de transmisión es poco frecuente, al igual que los casos reportados por transfusión sanguínea, trasplante de órganos y contacto sexual.

Los esfuerzos para controlar la leishmaniosis canina y la enfermedad humana en áreas endémicas se centran en interrumpir la transmisión de la infección y prevenir la infección canina a nivel de la población.

Período de incubación de la leishmania

La infección se adquiere cuando las moscas de la arena transmiten los parásitos flagelados a la piel del animal. El período de incubación de la infección para que se manifiesten los síntomas es generalmente entre un mes y varios años. En los perro, se propaga por todo el cuerpo a la mayoría de los órganos, la insuficiencia renal (riñón) es la causa más común de muerte y prácticamente todos los perros infectados desarrollan enfermedades viscerales o sistémicas.

Hasta el 90 % de los perros infectados también tendrán afectaciones en la piel. No hay edad, género o predilección de la raza, sin embargo, los machos son más propensos a tener una reacción visceral. Los principales sistemas de órganos afectados son: la piel, los riñones, el bazo, el hígado, los ojos y las articulaciones. También suele haber una reacción en la piel y pérdida de cabello. Hay una marcada tendencia a la hemorragia.

Tipos de síntomas que puedes ver en tu perro

A continuación, te mostramos una lista con los distintos síntomas que pueden hacerte sospechar que tu perro ha cogido el virus:

  • Estado nutritivo deficiente hasta la caquexia.
  • Atrofia muscular.
  • Letargia.
  • Mucosas pál >Viscerales (que afectan a los órganos internos)

Afecta a los órganos de la cavidad abdominal.

  • Pérdida de peso severa.
  • Pérdida del apetito (anorexia).
  • Diarrea.
  • Heces alquitranadas (menos comunes).
  • Vómito.
  • Sangrado de nariz.
  • Intolerancia al ejercicio.

Cutáneos (que afectan a la piel)

  • Hiperqueratosis: hallazgo más prominente.
  • Escamas ep >Oculares
  • Lesiones palpebrales.
  • Lesiones conjuntivales difusas o nodulares, lesiones corneales (queratitis nodular, querato conjuntivitis o queratitis seca).
  • Lesiones de la esclera (epiescleritis o escleritis difusa o nodular), glaucoma. Estas lesiones pueden conducir a un glaucoma o a una panoftalmia, por tanto incluso a la ceguera.

Otros síntomas

Otros signos y síntomas asociados con la leishmaniasis incluyen:

  • Linfadenopatía: enfermedad de los ganglios linfáticos con lesiones cutáneas en el 90 % de los casos.
  • Adelgazamiento.
  • Signos de insuficiencia renal: micción excesiva, sed excesiva y vómitos posibles.
  • Neuralgia: trastorno doloroso de los nervios.
  • Dolor en las articulaciones.
  • Inflamación de los músculos.
  • Lesiones osteolíticas: un área punzada con pérd >

En este post encontrarás todo lo que necesitas saber sobre las garrapatas.

Diagnóstico y tratamiento de la leishmaniasis

El veterinario realizará un examen físico completo en el perro, teniendo en cuenta el historial de los síntomas y los posibles incidentes que podrían haber llevado a esta condición. Se realizará un perfil completo de la sangre, incluido un perfil químico de la sangre, un hemograma y un análisis de orina.

En toda la historia médica, la leishmaniasis se diagnostica especialmente en viajes recientes a un área con leishmaniasis endémica y signos clínicos. Los exámenes de sangre y orina generalmente se realizan junto con biopsias de tejido.

La mayoría de los perros con leishmaniasis tienen altos niveles de proteínas y gammaglobulina, así como una alta actividad de las enzimas hepáticas. Aun así, el veterinario deberá eliminar la fiebre por garrapatas como la causa de los síntomas, y puede realizar una prueba específica de lupus para descartar o confirmar como una de las causas.

A menos que el perro esté extremadamente enfermo, se le tratará como paciente ambulatorio. Si está demacrado y tiene una infección crónica, es posible que se deba considerar la eutanasia porque el pronóstico es muy malo para estos animales. Si el perro no está gravemente infectado, el veterinario le recetará una dieta de proteínas de alta calidad, una que está diseñada específicamente para la insuficiencia renal.

Estos organismos no serán eliminados por completo y la recaída, que requiere tratamiento, es inevitable. Sin embargo, existen medicamentos que pueden ser útiles para tratar los síntomas y para tratar la enfermedad. El veterinario es el que aconsejará sobre cuál es el mejor tratamiento.

El especialista va a monitorear al perro para revisar si existe una mejoría clínica y para la identificación de organismos en las biopsias repetidas. Se puede esperar una recaída de algunos meses a un año después de la terapia inicial. El veterinario, aun así, va a volver a revisar la condición del perro al menos cada dos meses después de completar el tratamiento inicial.

He pronóstico para una mascota diagnosticada con leishmaniasis es muy grave. La mayoría de los perros mueren por insuficiencia renal. Las mascotas gravemente enfermas pueden no ser capaces de someterse a un tratamiento.

La prevención, la mejor solución

Es muy importante prevenir en las diferentes épocas del año y horas del día de más actividad del mosquito. Existen actualmente varios productos como repelentes en pipetas, collares o incluso vacunas que se pueden administrar a las mascotas para protegerlas, pero siempre bajo prescripción veterinaria.

Los insecticidas específicos tópicos como repelentes reducen eficazmente las picaduras de moscas de arena y la transmisión de enfermedades. Se ha demostrado que un collar impregnado con deltametrina y una formulación puntual de permetrina e imidacloprid confieren protección contra las picaduras de la mosca de la arena.

La aplicación de insecticidas como protección se recomienda para perros en áreas endémicas de Leishmania, perros que viajan a sitios de infección y perros infectados (para reducir la transmisión potencial).

Las vacunas comerciales de fracción purificada contra la leishmaniosis canina se comercializan en Europa y Brasil. Mientras tanto, otras vacunas están en desarrollo. La enfermedad se puede prevenir con vacunas que se pueden aplicar a los cachorros sanos a partir de los seis meses de edad. Esta vacuna desarrolla inmunidad celular, enseñando al sistema inmune a defenderse correctamente del parásito para que las células destruyan la enfermedad, por lo que la vacuna protegerá al perro cuando le pique un mosquito infectado. Se necesitan tres dosis el primer año de vacunación y se debe volver a vacunar cada año.

Hay que tener en cuenta que los perros portadores del virus no se pueden vacunar porque, en ese caso, la vacuna no los curará. También recalcamos que los animales solo pueden vacunarse si tienen un buen estado de salud: además, las hembras en embarazo tampoco pueden vacunarse.

La prevención de la leishmaniosis en perros no solo se puede llevar a cabo a través de la vacunación, sino también con controles anuales de exámenes de sangre en regiones de alto riesgo para contraer la enfermedad, especialmente en zonas húmedas y en meses de mucho calor. Si quieres conocer el calendario de vacunaciones, sobre todo en cachorros, visita esta web.

Otras medidas de prevención

También existen otras medidas de prevención y protección como son:

  • Colocar a los perros collares antiparasitarios repelentes de mosquitos.
  • Usar regularmente productos antiparasitarios externos, que también actúan como repelentes.
  • Fumigar en zonas con mayor actividad de mosquitos.
  • Use velas or espirales en las terrazas que espantan a los mosquitos.
  • Dentro de las casas es mejor usar enchufes que protejan a toda la familia como insecticidas eléctricos.
  • Evitar visitar en verano zonas húmedas y pantanosas.
  • Use mosquiteras en las ventanas de las casas de campo y playa.
  • No pasear con la mascota cerca de los ríos o zonas húmedas al atardecer, ya que aumenta la actividad de los mosquitos a esas horas cuando comienza a caer la noche.
  • Casi siempre la actividad de los mosquitos aumenta durante la noche, así que es mejor que el animal duerma dentro de casa.

Por último, no olvides acudir a un veterinario de confianza y solicitar información sobre la incidencia de esta enfermedad en la localidad donde resides: acude a él para más información sobre el tratamiento si tu perro padece leishmaniasis. Si quieres conocer más sobre la Leishmaniasis puedes echarle un vistazo aquí a la web de la Comunidad de Madrid.