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Dog leishmaniasis initial symptoms and diagnosis

Dog leishmaniasis initial symptoms and diagnosis

Dog leishmaniasis: initial symptoms and diagnosis of the disease. What are the clinical signs to observe in the dog and what to do in case of suspected infection.

Thereleishmaniasisis among thedog zoonosis most popular. It is caused by a pathogenic protozoan (Leishmania infantum) carried by an insect (Phlebotomus spp) more commonly known aspappatacio. It is clear that defending the dog from the bite of sand flies also prevents leishmaniasis, but it is not that simple. Although the dog is more sensitive to the disease, not everyone knows that the cat can also get sick of leishmaniasis.

Dog leishmaniasis: initial symptoms

It is difficult to talk aboutinitial symptoms. The reason? There is a substantial difference betweeninfection and disease. Infection occurs when thedogcomes into contact with the pathogenic protozoan and thus, its immune system is activated to defeat the agent. They are not present at this stagesymptomsstriking.

During the disease, however, the action of the pathogenLeishmania infantumcan cause the appearance ofclinical symptoms. At this point, the health consequences of the dog may already be significant.

This means that there are no real onesinitial symptomsand that even a dog that appears to be in full health may have contractedinfection in absence ofsymptoms. Only a few dogs manage to defeat the protozoan Leishmania infantum.

Diagnosis: how to understand that the dog has leishmaniasis?

If the dog exhibits anysymptomof malaise, you must consult theveterinary, even if that illness may seem mild or irrelevant. Any alteration of thedogit should be read as a signal. Unfortunately idogsthey can't communicate the way a human being would, they can't tell you when they need help.

It's up to you to catch any clinical symptoms, even if they're subtle. For thediagnosisdefinitive of theleishmaniasis, the vet relies on specificlaboratory testswhich go to identify the presence of the parasite (directly) in the dog's body or by observing the presence of antibodies produced by the puppy in response to the infection. Therediagnosistherefore, it can also be performed during the asymptomatic phase.

Dog leishmaniasis: symptoms

Thereleishmaniasis caused by the pathogenLeishmania infantumit's achronic diseaseand for this reason, after the infection, probably before noticing "initial symptoms"A lot of time will pass.

How soon after the infection can the first symptoms appear?
From a few months to a few years.

To complicate everything, know that the dog leishmaniasis symptomsthey are non-specific and very numerous. L'List of dog leishmaniasis symptomsthat follows cannot lead to a certain diagnosis. As stated, forunderstand if the dog has leishmaniasislaboratory tests must be performed.

Symptoms do not necessarily have to be present at the same time. THEdog leishmaniasis symptomsmore frequent are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Decrease in muscle mass
  • Slimming
  • Fatigue
  • Increase in the volume of the lymph nodes
  • Depression
  • Listlessness
  • Excessive nail growth
  • Skin lesions
  • Peeling of the skin
  • Dermatitis
  • Ulcers
  • Loss of hair
  • Injuries of the eyelids
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Other problems affecting the ocular mucous membranes
  • Lameness (the dog limps)
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination (dog always peeing)
  • Diarrhea
  • Anemia
  • He retched

In somedogsmore atypical symptoms may occur but which veterinary anthologies have often correlated withleishmaniasis. The most atypical symptoms are:

  • Epistaxis (nosebleeds)
  • Difficulty in coagulation
  • Scarring problems in case of wounds
  • Difficulty in motor coordination
  • Neurological problems

When thediseaseis now well known, even the youngest and most spirited dog may appear tried, tired, thin and aged. If you notice that thedog ages prematurely, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Among the internal organs most affected by thepathogen Leishmania infantum, figure the kidney. Renal failure or renal alterations could be closely linked to this protozoan.

Leishmaniasis vaccine

Among the prevention there are all those practices that defend the dog from the bites of sand flies and other vector insects. Then there is also the vaccine against leishmaniasis. Therevaccinationit is a very effective prevention weapon.

To date, there are two types ofDog Leishmaniasis Vaccines. Vaccination can be performed only and exclusively by the veterinarian, following a clinical verification and only if the dog has not already been infected with the pathogen.

Thevaccine, although effective, it fails to guarantee 100% certain coverage. Many veterinarians recommend combining vaccination with strategies to protect animals such as the use of broad-spectrum repellents that keep parasites away from your four-legged friend.

You may also be interested in our related article: Dog leishmaniasis: prevention, symptoms and treatment


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