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General information about Leishmaniasis in Dogs

General information about Leishmaniasis in Dogs - Dogs Health care Articles

General information about Leishmaniasis in Dogs : Dogs Health care Articles; What is Leishmaniasis ? Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease that is found in parts of the tropics, subtropics, and southern Europe. Leishmaniasis is caused by infection with Leishmania parasites, which are spread by the bite of infected sand flies. There are several different forms of leishmaniasis in people. The most ... General information about Leishmaniasis in Dogs



General information about Leishmaniasis in Dogs

General information about Leishmaniasis in Dogs

What is Leishmaniasis ?

Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease that is found in parts of the tropics, subtropics, and southern Europe. Leishmaniasis is caused by infection with Leishmania parasites, which are spread by the bite of infected sand flies. There are several different forms of leishmaniasis in people. The most common forms are cutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes skin sores, and visceral leishmaniasis, which affects several internal organs (usually spleen, liver, and bone marrow).

What are the signs and symptoms of cutaneous leishmaniasis?

People who have cutaneous leishmaniasis have one or more sores on their skin. The sores can change in size and appearance over time. The sores may start out as bumps or nodules, and may end up as ulcers (like a volcano, with a raised edge and central crater). Some leishmaniasis ulcers are covered by a scab. They can be painless or painful. Some people have swollen glands near the sores (for example, under the arm if the sores are on the arm or hand).

What are the signs and symptoms of visceral leishmaniasis?

People who have visceral leishmaniasis usually have fever, weight loss, and an enlarged spleen and liver, and abnormal blood tests. People may have low blood counts, including a low red blood cell count (anemia), low white blood cell count, and low platelet count.

How common is leishmaniasis in the world?

The number of new cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis each year in the world is thought to be about 1.5 million. The number of new cases of visceral leishmaniasis is thought to be about 500,000.

In what parts of the world is leishmaniasis found?

In the New World (the Western Hemisphere), leishmaniasis is found in some parts of Mexico, Central America, and South America. It is not found in Chile or Uruguay.
In the Old World (the Eastern Hemisphere), leishmaniasis is found in some parts of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and southern Europe. It is not found in Australia or the Pacific Islands.
Overall, leishmaniasis is found in specific areas of about 88 countries. Some of these countries account for most of the world’s cases of leishmaniasis:
  • Over 90 percent of the cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis occur in parts of Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria (in the Old World) and in Brazil and Peru (in the New World);
  • Over 90 percent of the cases of visceral leishmaniasis occur in parts of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sudan, and Brazil.
Cases of leishmaniasis evaluated in the United States reflect travel and immigration patterns. For example, cases in U.S. civilian travelers typically are cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis acquired in common tourist destinations in Latin America. U.S. military personnel have become infected with leishmaniasis in Iraq and Afghanistan.



Is leishmaniasis found in the United States?

Not usually. Almost all of the people in the United States diagnosed with leishmaniasis became infected while traveling or living in other countries.
Occasional cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis have been reported in residents of Texas and Oklahoma. No cases of visceral leishmaniasis are known to have been acquired in the United States.


What are the signs and symptoms of leishmaniasis in dogs?

Some dogs can have the Leishmania parasite for extended periods of time and may not exhibit any signs or symptoms of disease (asymptomatic). In asymptomatic dogs, the parasite can lay dormant for a period of time, sometimes years, before a stimulant, such as stress or illness, triggers the parasite to multiply and attack the body and eventually lead to cutaneous leishmaniasis or visceral leishmaniasis. However, both asymptomatic and symptomatic dogs are capable of infecting sand flies and spreading the disease.
In most symptomatic dogs, the first sign of disease appears about 2-4 months after the initial infection. Symptoms may include sores on the skin, peeling, ulcers, loss of weight, bald patches, conjunctivitis, blindness, nasal discharge, muscular atrophy, inflammation, swelling, and organ failure, including mild heart attacks.
How do I prevent my dog from getting leishmaniasis?

There is currently no medicine to prevent leishmaniasis in dogs. The best way to prevent your dog from getting infected is to avoid regions of the world where it is found. Additionally, do not allow your dogs near a dog that is suspected of having the infection.


What should I do if I think my dog has leishmaniasis?

Contact your veterinarian. More information on leishmaniasis in dogs can be found at : Canine Leishmaniasis

What is the history of leishmaniasis in dogs in the United States?

Leishmaniasis has been found in a few dogs imported to the United States from areas of the world where the disease is prevalent. There is no competent vector to spread the disease in the United States and there has only been one major outbreak reported in the country. The outbreak occurred in foxhound populations throughout the eastern United States and Canada and spread in foxhound kennels through blood transfusions and by congenital transmission.

Can I get leishmaniasis from my dog?

No. There have been no documented cases of leishmaniasis transmission from dogs to humans.

General information about Leishmaniasis in Dogs

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