Leishmaniose
Sinais leishmaniose
Sinais leishmaniose
Alopecia
Distribuição leismaniose

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What is?


Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease of the dog, caused by a parasite called Leishmania, which is located mainly in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, liver and skin. In addition to the dog, cats, foxes and rodents can also be affected, as well as humans. However, human transmission in Portugal is rare and is considered accidental.
In Portugal it is estimated that about 110 thousand dogs are infected, although many of them do not show clinical signs.

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How is it transmitted?


Leishmania is transmitted through the bite of a phlebotome, an insect similar to the mosquito but with a considerably smaller size. These insects live in animal shelters, homes, garbage bins, gardens, woods, among other places. It is particularly active between the months of April to September (although it can extend from March to November) and it mainly prefers dawn and dusk. They prefer mild nights (not less than 16 ºC) and are unable to fly in strong winds.

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What are the most frequent clinical signs?


Signs include hair loss (especially around the eyes, nose, mouth and ears), weight loss, ulcerative dermatitis (with wounds), head skin and limbs that are difficult to heal, enlarged lymph nodes, exaggerated nail growth, muscle atrophy, nasal bleeding (epistaxis), pale mucous membranes and joint pain. At a more advanced stage, signs related to renal failure appear, such as increased urine production (polyuria) and increased water consumption (polydipsia).

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How is it prevented?


Since the treatment of this disease is difficult and it is rarely possible to completely eliminate the parasite, prevention is the most important measure. Prevention includes several measures:
• Reduce the probability of a phlebotome's bite: by using collars or repellent pipettes for this insect. This measure should also be used in animals diagnosed with this disease to prevent its transmission.
• Avoid walking your dog in the period of greatest activity of the sandfly (between dusk and dawn).
• Ensuring your dog is in good general health, in order to protect its immune system. To do this, you must ensure good nutrition and regular vaccination and deworming.
• Screen for this disease so that, in case of a positive result, start treatment as early as possible.
• Vaccinate your dog against this disease
• Use of immunomodulatory medication against the disease

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Always check with your veterinarian