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Leishmania is a parasite which causes a disease called Leishmaniasis. Leishmaniasis is a severe disease that can affect dogs and other mammals, including humans. The parasite is transmitted to dogs via sandflies. Sandflies do not live in the UK, however, other countries in Southern and Eastern Europe sandflies are present and are a risk to a dog’s health. A dog that has travelled overseas to these areas may be at risk of becoming infected. More cases are starting to be seen in the UK and it is possible that transmission can occur.

The best preventable measure is vaccinations if you plan to travel with your dog. Before travel to areas where Leishmaniasis is prevalent speak to your vet about treatments to prevent sandfly bites.

FAQs

What is leishmaniasis in dogs?

Leishmaniasis is a severe disease that can affect dogs and other mammals, including humans.

What are the leishmaniasis symptoms in dogs?

Some dogs only develop symptoms of leishmaniasis months or even years after becoming infected. Symptoms include:

  • weight loss
  • lethargy
  • increased thirst
  • lesions on the skin
  • painful eyes
  • kidney failure.

How do you treat leishmaniasis in dogs?

Treatment varies depending on each case. Some dogs are infected but don’t show any symptoms whilst most of the cases need to receive medication support as well as having blood tests. The treatment itself isn’t curative and the dog will remain persistently infected so relapses can occur after medication is stopped. The best preventable measure is vaccinations if you plan to travel with your dog.

Is Leishmaniasis curable in dogs?

Leishmaniasis treatment itself isn’t curative and the dog will remain persistently infected so relapses can occur after medication is stopped. The best preventable measure is vaccinations if you plan to travel with your dog. Before travel to areas where Leishmaniasis is prevalent speak to your vet about treatments to prevent sandfly bites.

Can cats get Leishmaniasis?

Leishmania in cats is very rare but can still occur. This would be in cats who have travelled overseas as sandflies who transmit leishmania do not live in the UK.

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