What is Leishmania?

  • July 2013
  • Posted By Jesse Davicioni

Leishmania awareness

Leishmaniosis presents a significant threat to dogs travelling abroad and so vaccination is something you may wish to consider if you are taking him or her on holiday.

The disease is spread to dogs through the bites of infected sand flies. It is endemic in countries in southern Europe bordering the Mediterranean, including Spain, the South of France and Italy, where 2.5 million dogs are already believed to be infected with the parasite. It is spreading northwards as more people travel with their dogs or import infected animals from endemic areas. Aside from vaccination, the only preventative measures available are insecticidal sprays and collars and keeping your dog in at dawn and dusk – the times of the day when the sand fly is most active.

If you’re planning to travel to a region where the disease is endemic, vaccinating your dog is a simple and effective way to protect your pet and to give you peace of mind. It will also help to slow the disease’s spread into non-endemic regions. The new vaccine can be given from six months of age and requires three injections given at three week intervals.

If your pet has already travelled to any of these areas, we recommend a blood test to check that your pet does not already harbour the parasite before starting the vaccination course.



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