Canine Leishmaniasis: the disease
Canine Leishmaniasis is a vector disease caused by protozoas of the Leishmania genus, which affects dogs on all continents except Oceania. The aetiological agent of visceral and cutaneous Leishmaniasis in dogs and humans in countries in Southern Europe is Leishmania infantum (synonym Leishmania chagasi).
Canine Leishmaniasis occurs in approximately fifty countries in the world, with a particularly high prevalence in the Mediterranean region and in regions of South America. It is significant that the epidemic is spreading northwards in Europe and in America, where it has spread from Brazil to Argentina and some states in the middle and north east of the USA (Solano-Gallego et al, 2009, Petersen 2009, Maroli et al, 2008).
Epidemiology and aetiology of canine Leishmaniasis
Canine Leshmaniasis is a very significant disease because of its impact on veterinary medicine as well as on human health.
Immunology and pathogenic mechanisms
Dogs develop a broad spectrum of immune responses to infection by Leishmania.
The clinical disease and the diagnosis
The clinical signs usually develop slowly and gradually, sometimes over several months or even several years.
Treatment and prognosis for canine Leishmaniasis
Current treatment leads to a notable and fast clinical improvement, but it is not associated with a total elimination of the parasite.
Prevention and control of canine Leishmaniasis
It has been amply demonstrated that the use of topical insecticides in the form of collars or spot-on applications reduces the transmission of the disease and the prevalence of Leishmaniasis.
Vaccination as the new control tool
The development of an effective and safe vaccine against canine Leishmaniasis has been identified as a key point in the control of the disease.