Leishmaniasis

What is Leishmaniasis?

Leishmaniasis is caused by a microscopic parasite which is spread by sand fly bites and is particularly prevalent in the Mediterranean. It is a severe, often fatal disease. An infected sand fly bites a dog (usually on the muzzle or ears) and deposits the parasite under the skin, causing a lesion. The parasite then attacks the dog’s cells damaging the immune system and a variety of body systems leading to serious disorders including skin disease, anaemia, arthritis, eye problems and kidney diseases. Bites are most likely to occur around dawn and dusk during the sand fly season, which runs from May to September. Fever, weight loss, skin sores and hair loss, particularly around the ears and muzzle, are recognisable symptons.

Treatment

According to the weight of the dog, treatment can be costly and extensive and may not be curative, so preventative measures are advisable. For further information, please contact your local veterinary surgeon.

Prevention

Vaccination is now available. Some products are licensed to kill sand flies and to help prevent them from biting.

For further information, please contact your local veterinary surgeon.