Leishmaniosis

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The chance of a dog catching Lishmaniosis in this area of  Spain is extremely high, many veterinary surgeons put it as high as 30 – 35 percent.  In reality the figure is much higher because there are many stray dogs with the disease.  It is a fatal disease if not treated.  Whilst their is no prevention for Leishmaniosis their are products which may help safeguard your dog.

The Parasite was discovered in 1900 by Scottish bacteriologist Sir William Boog Leishman, while serving as a colonel with the British Army in India.  The disease, originally called,  in  humans Kala-azar, is basically a tropical disease.  It is an  extremely rare disease in Cats.

Over the years the disease has spread to other countries, sometimes under other names, the “Sandfly”disease being the most common.  (this name is misleading because the disease has nothing to do with sand or flies. The beach has nothing to do with it.  Your dog is equally at risk in town, country, woodland or wherever).

Leishmaniosis is an immune suppressive disease, which means that it breaks down the natural ability of the body to fight off diseases.  In this way it is similar to AIDS in humans.  There are two types of Leishmaniosis,  “Cutaneous” and “Visceral”.  Cutaneous affects the skin and Visceral attacks the internal organs.  The best person to advise you about which kind your dog has is your vet.  Each case is different, and so is the form the treatment will take.

Any dog can catch Leishmaniosis, but there is evidence to indicate that short haired dogs are more susceptible.  Bear in mind two very important facts, there is no cure – there is a vaccination against the disease due out in 2012 so ask your vet –

What are the symptoms of Leishmaniosis?  Watch out for exaggerated nail growth, ulceration of the ear tips, thick dandruff, bald patches on the skin,  your dog getting thin although eating well (in this case first check for worms), conjunctivitis of the eyes.  These are all warning signs that your dog could have the disease.

The only way to make sure is to visit your veterinary surgeon.  He will take a blood sample and you will have the results usually in a couple of days.  Pay your money and rejoice when the test proves negative.

Should the test be positive you must follow your vet’s advice to the letter.  Maybe he or she will recommend a series of injections.  Maybe your vet will recommend a tablet treatment, which has proven successful in building up immunity in recent years.  Very often a combination of injections and tablets is prescribed.  If you are administering tablets, then exact compliance with the vet’s instructions must be observed.  With injections you may have to take the dog to the vet every day, or have him/her show you how to do it.

There is no parasitological cure, although the disease may recede to such a degree that your dog will reach what Vets call, Clinical Cure.   When that is the case keep following your vet’s instructions.  Keep to the appointments your vet has made for new blood tests, which will show the stage the disease is in. Your dog may go a whole year without showing any signs of Leishmaniosis, but do not let it fool you.  Stay on the alert.

SCALIBOR COLLAR´S – Control and prevention 

Scalibor collars which may be change every  3 -4 months  (it says on the box to change 4-6 monthly),  you may also choose to keep a Scalibor collars on in Winter, this is personal choice. The use Ex-spot ampoules monthly in summer and 6 weekly in winter. Another product you may choose to use is Advantix which is a triple spot on solucion for ticks – fleet and the Mosquito.  This is used once per month .  Dogs should be blood tested once or  twice a year. PLEASE ASK YOUR VET FOR ADVICE

THE VACCINE – obtains a European registration:- 

leishmania1The first vaccine against canine leishmaniosis in Europe on 14 March 2011 , the European Commission confirmed this opinion by  awarding Virbac a European registration for this vaccine.

CaniLeish will initially be launched in Portugal at the end of the first half of 2011 – this will be followed rapidly by launches in other countries in the endemic area; Spain, France, Greece and Italy – This roll-out takes account of the geographical prevalence of the disease and the time required to build vaccine production up to full capacity.  The launch in Northern European countries from where there is a flow of summer visitors to the endemic area will be part of a second phase.