Leishmania and Leishmaniasis in Dogs | Petlebi

Dog Health

Can affect other mammals, including dogs and humans; Leishmania, which causes the dangerous disease called Laishmaniasis; Protozoan is a type of parasite. In order for the leishmania parasite to be seen in dogs, they must be bitten by female phlebotomy sandflies. More than 23 Leishmania species are known to have been described, most of them zoonotic. The most important Leishmania species affecting domestic animals is L infantum. This disease, which can also be seen in our country, can lead to dangerous consequences. In this article, you can find information about Laishmaniasis in dogs.

Leishmania Disease in Dogs

Leishmania disease in dogs causes two different types of infections in dogs. One of them is skin infection and the other is abdominal organ infection. The disease occurs when active parasites of female phlebotomine sandflies are transmitted to the skin of the host. Parasites transmitted from flies begin to multiply on the skin where the infection occurs. It then proceeds to the intra-abdominal organs such as the liver, lymph nodes, intestines, kidney and spleen.

dog paws

What Are the Symptoms of Leishmania Disease in Dogs?

As we have just mentioned, Leishmaniasis in dogs can be seen in two different forms. Almost all dogs infected with this parasite develop visceral or abdominal organ infection. It is expected that 90% of the cases will also have skin involvement. The clinical symptoms of the type that affects the abdominal organs can be listed as anorexia, that is, loss of appetite, fever, weakness, decrease in exercise capacity, severe and sudden weight loss, vomiting, nosebleeds, diarrhea and blood in the stool. Symptoms such as swelling of the lymph nodes, enlarged spleen and kidney failure in some dogs, joint inflammation, swelling of the testicles in male dogs can also be observed in some dogs. As it is known, loss of appetite in dogs is a condition that can be encountered in many different situations and should be consulted to veterinarians when it becomes permanent. What Causes Anorexia in Dogs? You can get detailed information about the subject by reading our content.

The most common clinical symptoms of the skin form of leishmaniasis can be expressed as thickening and hardening of the paw skin. In many dogs, these skin tissues may become discolored as the disease progresses. Nodules and hardening of the skin may occur. Feather health is also affected by Leishmania. Hair becomes dull, weakened and regional hair loss occurs on the body.

Some dogs exposed to Leishmania parasites may not show any signs or symptoms of the disease. In this case, there is an asymptomatic case. In asymptomatic dogs, parasites can lie dormant for years. But this does not prevent them from spreading this disease.

How is Leishmania in Dogs Diagnosed?

When the symptoms of Leishmania disease start to appear in dogs, people apply to veterinarians because it is an anomaly, although they do not know exactly why these symptoms occur. Before diagnosis, symptoms in dogs are evaluated and a complete physical examination is performed. Often blood tests are done and tissue samples may be taken from the skin, lymph nodes, or internal organs. Microscopic examination and culture, molecular biological methods and serological tests can be used in combination to investigate the presence of virus, bacteria or antiparasitic antibodies in the body. The decision of which method or methods to be applied during the diagnosis is made by the veterinarians specific to the dog.

adult sitting on lawn and puppy playing

How to Treat Leishmania in Dogs?

Alternative treatments can be tried within the scope of the treatment of Leishmania disease in dogs. If the skin lesions are infected, it is possible to initiate supportive drug therapies, including intravenous fluid support, special diets, and antibiotics. While determining the treatment processes, the type of the disease and the complaints caused by the dog are taken into account. For example, if a dog is asymptomatic, usually no treatment options may be considered. If treatment is to be applied, it is continued for several months and the process is terminated if the results of blood tests return to normal. This disease can be successfully managed when treated on time and correctly. However, if not treated on time, it can lead to serious consequences. At this point, it is important to take precautions against kidney failure in dogs due to Leishmania disease. Because in the majority of dogs who lost their lives, the Leishmania parasite progresses to kidney failure.

How to Prevent Leishmania in Dogs?

The most basic factor for parasite transmission is being bitten by flies carrying the Leishmania parasite. If no precautions are taken for dogs living in areas where these flies live, the risk of being infected can reach around 20%. This risk increases significantly if the dog lives in a rural area and stays outside the home. Sexual contact and birth from an infected female dog may also be among the transmission routes of the disease. For this reason, it is important that dogs should be taken to veterinarian examinations regularly and general health checks should be made. It is also recommended that dogs wear parasite collars to protect them from mosquito bites.

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