Planning on Traveling Europe with Dog ? Protect Them Against Leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by a single-celled parasite found in cats, dogs, and some rodents in many parts of the world, typically in countryside areas. The disease, which is transmitted by the bite of a sandfly, can also affect human beings (though it is not passed from pets to human beings). The countries of India, South Sudan, Sudan, Brazil, Ethiopia, and Somalia are the most affected, though the parasite is also endemic in Europe. What are the symptoms of this disease, and how can you protect your pooch against it if you are planning on travelling to Europe soon?

Traveling Europe with Dog

What Are the Symptoms of Leishmaniasis?

The symptoms of leishmaniasis in dogs include a lack of appetite, weakness, severe weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, increased drinking and urination, and nose bleeds. Around one-third of dogs with this disease develop swollen lymph nodes and an enlarged spleen, and develop kidney failure. They can also have hair loss, typically in the areas around the ears, eyes, and snout. There are four stages of the disease, ranging in severity from 1 to 4. A dog in stage 1 will have mild disease with little or no changes observable in blood tests. Those with stage 4 disease, meanwhile, can have difficulty breathing, and their blood tests can reveal signs of kidney failure. Leishmaniasis can be treated successfully with simple drug therapy, and dogs can also be given supportive treatment, special diets, and antibiotics (if they develop infected skin lesions). The earlier the disease is treated, the better your chance of keeping it in check.

Preventing Leishmaniasis

To protect your dog against pests and the diseases they cause (including leishmaniasis), following a preventive strategy is key. Before traveling, ensure your dog is treated with a good flea and tick treatment. Also, speak to your vet about the leishmaniasis vaccine, which was first introduced in 2012 and which has improved significantly over time. It requires only one injection and is effective after one month. Your dog will need booster shots every year. The vaccine can be applied to dogs aged six months or above after a blood test.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

If you will be in rural areas and you plan on spending plenty of time outdoors in an affected area, minimize the amount of exposed skin. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and sucks, and tuck your shirt in. Apply insecticide to any exposed areas of the skin. Sand flies can find their way into homes as well, so when you are indoors, stay in well-screened or air-conditioned zones, spray rooms with an insecticide, and use a bed net if you are not sleeping in a well-screened area.

Leishmaniasis can be deadly to pets, and it can also affect human beings (though pets cannot infect humans and vice-versa). If you are travelling to a country that is known to have this disease, protect your pet via a veterinarian-recommended treatment and the leishmaniasis vaccine. Finally, be wary of sand flies yourself, wearing protective clothing and using insecticides, bed nets, and other means of escaping this tiny pest.

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