Leishmaniasis is a group of diseases caused by a parasite of the genus Leishmania. This parasite is transmitted through the bite of a sandfly (a variety of mosquito). Symptoms in dogs are manifested through muscle, eye, and kidney problems, and skin wounds. In humans it can produce both skin and visceral lesions.
Canine leishmaniasis is a disease widely spread throughout the national territory.
Seroprevalence studies in dogs in Spain have suggested infection rates that vary from 2% to 57.1% depending on the area.
Among the risk factors are: the mobility of dogs, on a regular basis, between the Autonomous Communities (hunting, weekend getaways, vacations, etc); climate change -the increase in temperatures favors the development of the vector-; walks, excursions in the mountains, which increase exposure to bites; dogs that live some or all of the time outdoors; the proximity of areas with stagnant water or with the river passing nearby, increasing the casuistry in areas close to the Ebro river; and the evening walks with our dog, since it is at dusk when the most parasite load has been observed in the environment.
«Leishmaniasis affects all types of dogs, however, there are breeds much more sensitive than others, for example, Boxers, German Shepherds, Cocker Spaniel and Rottweilers, and in general, hunting dogs, because they are more exposed,» says Aroia Burguete, from the Leishmaniasis-Therapeutic Targets and Molecular diagnosis group at ISTUN and from the Department of Microbiology and Parasitology of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Navarra.
At present, leishmaniasis is a chronic disease, but if it is detected early, treatment can be applied and your best friend can have a good quality of life.
Here are some tips to make your dog less likely to contract it:
Install mosquito nets combined with repellants such as permethrin or deltamethrin.
As these mosquitoes are active at night, we must avoid taking our dog for a walk during the night hours.
Using pipettes and repellent collars will reduce the chances that our best friend will be infected.
There are vaccines and medications that help prevention with very good results in the event that the repellants fai