During spring and summer, you have to be very careful since it is when the mosquitoes carrying the leishmania can bite your dog. At night do not leave your dog to stay in the terrace or the garden.
Leishmaniasis is a serious disease that dogs can suffer from and it is incurable. What you can do is prevent it and, if it occurs, control it then the animal can live a completely normal life. But remember, the sooner it is detected, the better the diagnosis will be.
What causes leishmaniasis?
The bite of the Phlebotomus mosquito what transfers Leishmania to our animals. Any dog can be bitten by a mosquito carrying this disease. For this to happen, the mosquito has to bite another animal infected with leishmaniasis before becoming a carrier of the disease.
The Phlebotomus mosquito is a nocturnal insect, so night is its great moment of activity and therefore, its danger starts at dusk and continues until dawn. It usually stings at night. The one that itches are the female, because it needs to take blood so that its eggs mature. The sand flies are small, have a kind of hair on their body and do not emit the typical buzzing of mosquitoes when flying.
Dog Fact: Dogs can se much batter at night than humans. It’s because of the Tapetum Lucidum, a light reflecting layer behind the retina. Also, that is why dog eyes shine at night if a light source is pointed at them.
Symptoms of leishmaniasis
There are two types of leishmaniasis: visceral and cutaneous. The first one attacks the internal organs and it can cause weight loss, injuries to the kidneys, livers, bones (lameness), eyes, muscles … The second one causes hair loss, skin color change, cracks in the muzzle and the pads, dry skin, abnormal growth of the nails …
The symptoms of canine leishmaniasis are varied:
– The dog lacks hair around the eyes.
– Presents eye injuries.
-it’s apathetic and weak.
– the dog Loses hair.
– it has dandruff.
– it has a fever.
– skin becomes dry.
– Presents ulcers on the skin.
– it’s lame.
– nails grow abnormally.
– weight lose.
– It has swollen lymph nodes, liver and spleen.
– it suffers arthritis.
– having wounds that do not heal.
– Your muscles are progressively atrophying.
If the dog has some of these typical symptoms of leishmaniasis and, especially, several at the same time, you should take it to the veterinary clinic to get a diagnosis because it is possible that the dog has been infected. In case you have the disease, the sooner it is detected, the sooner you can start the treatment, which will shorten the symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse.
How can we prevent leishmaniasis?
There are different ways to prevent leishmaniasis to get to your dogs but before enumerating them, we must say that none of them protect our animal completely. You must not believe the brands that sell a totally effective product, in fact, if they advertise it like this, we advise you to choose another preventive, that is not reliable from the same package.
To protect our animals, we can follow these steps:
– Put an antiparasitic collar on your dog.
– Keep the calendar of the preventive pipette up to date.
– Vaccinate your dogs against leishmaniasis. We recommend that you talk to your veterinarian about this method and thoroughly inform yourself about it.
– To increase the prevention: do not allow your pet to sleep outside in summer or spring, cover the windows with mosquito nets and watch your dog when it is in the garden or on the terrace during the hot season. Avoid walks from dusk to dawn, because during that period the activity of the mosquito’s is increased.
– Do regular Leishmania tests. It is about doing a blood test to the dog to see if there are antibodies to the Leishmania, which would prove if it has been stung by a phlebotomist carrier or not. However, it may take up to six months between that time and the appearance of the first symptoms and that it is undetectable in the test.
The times of the year of greatest risk
A dog is more likely to contract leishmaniasis during the periods of the year when the females of the phlebotomist bite, that is, in the warmer season, in the months between the end of spring and the beginning of autumn. In winter the sandflies are in a larval stage so they cannot transmit the disease. However, in recent years, the sand flies appear every time before it is possible to see them at the beginning of March.