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What is Leishmaniasis: Transmission, Vaccine, Prevention

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 20, 2017
What is Leishmaniasis: Transmission, Vaccine, Prevention

Leishmaniasis is a one of the most common diseases affecting dogs. It is caused by parasites in the animal's body, affecting their skin tissues and vital organs. It can potentially be fatal. Since 2012, there's been a vaccine to prevent this disease.

At OneHowTo.com we'll explain how leishmaniasis is transmitted, prevention measures, leishmaniasis vaccine for dogs, and which breeds are at high risk of getting it. This way, you can be aware of the causes of the infection and care for your dog's health accordingly.

You may also be interested in: How to Feed a Dog with Leishmaniasis

Transmission of leishmaniasis

In both dogs and humans, the disease is transmitted by the bite of a sandfly containing the parasite of the genus, Leishmania.

The sandfly that transmits leishmaniasis is very small and is known by several names such as sandfly, sandflea and sand gnat.

Many are afraid of the possibility of leishmaniasis in humans, so let's explain the facts. First of all, serious leishmaniasis in humans is rare in developed countries. Leishmaniasis in humans usually occurs in people with a weak immune systems, especially in poor countries such as Bangladesh, India, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Sudan and Sudan. For people with weakened immune system and poor access to sanitation and healthcare, the disease can be fatal. For others, symptoms will mostly be limited to a minor dermatological condition without any great health risks.

Leishmaniasis in humans occurs If a disease carrying sandfly comes into contact with a human, but a dog can never directly infect a human with leishmaniasis. So, leishmaniasis in humans only appears if a sandfly becomes infected by biting the dog, and then infects the human.

It is recommended that if you or your dog have leishmaniasis , you consult a specialist.

What is Leishmaniasis: Transmission, Vaccine, Prevention - Transmission of leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis vaccine

A new leishmaniasis vaccine for dogs is available to prevent the development of the disease. Many people have doubts about whether the leishmaniasis vaccine for dogs is mandatory, or recommendable, and the leishmaniasis vaccine side effects.

The leishmaniasis vaccine for dogs doesn't cure the disease, but it prevents contagion.

The leishmaniasis vaccine for dogs creates cellular immunity, i.e. provoking the healthy cells to destroy those cells that have been infected by the disease in the dog's body.

The leishmaniasis vaccine isn't compulsory but it is highly recommended, especially of you live in, or plan to travel to a high risk area. The leishmaniasis vaccine for dogs can be given to puppies that are older than 6 months of age and should always be administered by a veterinarian.

The leishmaniasis vaccine side effects can include anorexia, apathy and swelling, and they last a maximum of six days.

Because the leishmaniasis vaccine for dogs is not 100% effective, you should still apply preventive measures to protect your dog.

What is Leishmaniasis: Transmission, Vaccine, Prevention - Leishmaniasis vaccine

Detecting leishmaniasis

Just as it's important to know how it spreads, it's also crucial to know what the symptoms of leishmaniasis are, so that you can detect it.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Hair loss. There's less hair than normal on your dog's head or body and it has dandruff.
  • Your dog's nails grow more rapidly.
  • Its skin looks inflamed or red.
  • Your dog's wounds don't heal completely.
  • Ulcers appear on the body, especially on the limbs or head.
  • Swollen eyes, sometimes red.
  • The dog is more tired, weak and fatigued.
  • Significant weight loss.
  • Fever and dizziness.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Swollen joints that can produce lameness.
  • Swollen lymph nodes, especially on the neck and the inner legs.

If you notice that your dog has any of these symptoms, go immediately to a vet. At onhowto we also talked about what to feed a dog with leishmaniasis.

What is Leishmaniasis: Transmission, Vaccine, Prevention - Detecting leishmaniasis

Breeds at higher risk of leishmaniasis

Are there breeds of dogs that have a higher risk of being infected by leishmaniasis? The vet community noticed a higher incidence of leishmaniasis in Foxhounds and Neapolitan Mastiffs. There is not direct correlation between leishmaniasis and Foxhounds or Neapolitan Mastiffs, and studies are being conducted in order to establish why Foxhounds and Neapolitan Mastiff seem to get leishmaniasis more easily.

Leishmaniasis prevention

As with other diseases, Leishmaniasis prevention is still the most crucial aspect in avoiding the disease. Because the leishmaniasis vaccine for dogs is not 100% effective, you should follow these measures even if your dog has been vaccinated.

The most important part of leishmaniasis prevention is that your dog wears a delthametrine impregnated collar to repell the sandflies during the warm summer months. If you want to be on the safe side with leishmaniasis prevention, also use a couple of drops of sandfly repellant on your dog.

Another important measure in leishmaniasis prevention is to avoid humid areas and to keep your dog indoor at night.

If you want to read similar articles to What is Leishmaniasis: Transmission, Vaccine, Prevention, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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