Sand fly causes Leishmania In Dogs
William Boog Leishman
Successful treatments include:
Alpurinol (used for Gout)
MMS Miracle Mineral Supplement
With MMS you are going to have to make up your own mind about this. There is a lot of bad press about this.
It worked with my dog and I have used it internally without any problems and it cleared out a lot o harmful bacteria.
The only problem I had with it was using it as a daily dental care, it loosened up my fillings and that can be expensive. A friend used it for a very bad dental infection and within 30 mins he was pain free.
Milteforan which can be administered orally as opposed to daily injections. Your vet should be able to prescribe and order this for you.
Leisgard is used as a preventative for leishmaniosis not to treat it.
Leishmania In Dogs
Leishmaniasis, the medical term used for the diseased condition that is brought about by the protozoan parasite Leishmania, can be categorized by two types of diseases in dogs: a cutaneous (skin) reaction and a visceral (abdominal organ) reaction — also known as black fever, the most severe form of leishmaniasis.
The infection is acquired when sandflies transmit the flagellated parasites into the skin of a host. The incubation period from infection to symptoms is generally between one month to several years. In dogs, it invariably spreads throughout the body to most organs; renal (kidney) failure is the most common cause of death, and virtually all infected dogs develop visceral or systemic disease. As much as 90 percent of infected dogs will also have skin involvement. There is no age, gender, or breed predilection; however, males are more likely to have a visceral reaction.
The main organ systems affected are the skin, kidneys, spleen, liver, eyes, and joints. There is also commonly a skin reaction, with lesions on the skin, and hair loss. There is marked tendency to hemorrhage.
Affected dogs in the U.S. are frequently found to have acquired the Leishmania infection in another country, notably the Mediterranean basin, Portugal, and Spain. There have also been sporadic cases confirmed in Switzerland, northern France, and the Netherlands, and endemic areas found in South and Central America, and in southern Mexico. Endemic cases in Oklahoma and Ohio have been reported in dog populations there as well.
It is important to note that leishmaniasis is a zoonotic infection, and the organisms residing in the lesions can be communicated to humans.
Symptoms and Types
There are two types of leishmaniasis seen in dogs: visceral and cutaneous. Each type affect different parts of the dog’s body.
Visceral — affects organs of the abdominal cavity
- Severe weight loss
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Tarry feces (less common)
- Nose bleed
- Exercise intolerance
Cutaneous — affects the skin
- Hyperkeratosis — most prominent finding; excessive epidermal scaling with thickening, depigmentation (loss of skin color), and chapping of the muzzle and footpads
- Alopecia — dry, brittle hair coat with symmetrical hair loss
- Nodules usually develop on the skin surface
- Intradermal nodules and ulcers may be seen
- Abnormally long or brittle nails are a specific finding in some patients
Other signs and symptoms associated with leishmaniasis include:
- Lymphadenopathy — disease of the lymph nodes with skin lesions in 90 percent of cases
- Signs of renal failure — excessive urination, excessive thirst, vomiting possible
- Neuralgia — painful disorder of the nerves
- Pain in the joints
- Inflammation of the muscles
- Osteolytic lesions — a “punched-out” area with severe bone loss
- Inflammation of the covering of bones; rare
- Fever with an enlarged spleed (in about one-third of patients)
Traveling to endemic regions (usually the Mediterranean), where the dog can be exposed to sandflies — a Leishmania host — is the most common way of contracting the infection. However, receiving a transfusion from another infected animal can also lead to leishmaniasis.
Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your dog, taking into account the background history of symptoms and possible incidents that might have led to this condition. A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. Your doctor will be looking for evidence of such diseases as lupus, cancer, and distemper, among other possible causes for the symptoms. Tissue samples from the skin, spleen, bone marrow, or lymph nodes will be taken for laboratory culturing, as well as fluid aspirates. Since there are often related lesions on the skin’s surface, a skin biopsy will be in order as well.
Most dogs with leishmaniasis have high levels of protein and gammaglobulin, as well as high liver enzyme activity. Even so, your veterinarian will need to eliminate tick fever as the cause of the symptoms, and may test specifically for lupus in order to rule it out or confirm it as a cause.
Leishmania In People
Leishmaniasis: The Sand Fly’s Bug
Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease caused by a protozoan that initially lives in the sand fly and is transmitted to people through sand fly bites. The organism develops and multiplies in the gut of the fly and is introduced into the bloodstream of humans after a bite. It can cause a skin infection or a more serious systemic infection. The skin infection, which consists of sores, develops weeks or months after a sand fly bite. The more serious infection, which consists of fever, enlargement of the liver and spleen, and anemia, can take months or even years to develop.
The disease is found in 90 tropical and subtropical countries around the world. More than 90 percent of the systemic cases occur in Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Nepal, and Sudan. The disease is rare, but not unheard of, in the United States.
The incubation period after a sand fly bite ranges from a couple of weeks to several months, with no symptoms to indicate the presence of the disease. A cut or some other trauma to the skin can result in activation of a skin infection a long time after the initial bite. The skin lesions, which can be painful, usually evolve over time. They are usually found on exposed areas of the skin, especially the arms, legs, and face. When the lesions heal, they leave scars. The healing process can take months.
Systemic Leishmaniasis: The Black Fever
Malnutrition has been shown to contribute to this more serious form of the disease. The fever that develops may be continuous, or it may come and go at irregular intervals. Symptoms include weight loss, diarrhea, and weakness. Darkening of the skin is also a characteristic of the disease, which explains why it is sometimes called “black fever.”
The disease can be diagnosed in a variety of ways, including a skin test, which is simple and sensitive, but can’t distinguish between active, inactive, new, or old infections. The disease-causing organism can be identified by examining a stool sample under a microscope, and cultures can be grown and antibody tests can be done as well.
The skin lesions caused in the mild form of the disease usually heal by themselves in 2 to 10 months; however, they may leave scars. Good wound care (use of local heat and keeping wounds clean) is important to reduce the chance of permanent scarring.
Antiparasitic drugs can be given as therapy once someone is infected, but they don’t prevent the disease. Unfortunately, these drugs are not readily available in the developing countries where the disease is most common. Antibiotics and antifungal drugs have been used to treat the disease with some success as well.
Risk for Travelers and Prevention
Anyone who lives in or travels to places where the organism is found is at risk for contracting leishmaniasis. The highest risk is to those who are outside between dusk and dawn, which is when the sand fly is most active.
There are no vaccines or drugs that prevent the disease; the most effective preventive measures are to reduce contact with sand flies. Although sand flies mostly bite at night, they will bite during the day if they are disturbed. Travelers should wear protective clothing and use insect repellent. Bed nets and screen doors and windows should be used as well. The netting must be very fine in order to be effective, as sand flies are about one third the size of mosquitoes.
After treatment for infection, approximately 98 percent of people have immunity against reinfection with the same strain.
Complications for leishmaniasis can include secondary bacterial infection; disfiguring of the nose, lips, and palate; bleeding, ruptured spleen; edema (swelling); and lesions in the nose and throat, with destruction of tissue.
The prognosis for those who get leishmaniasis depends on their immune status as well as whether they are getting proper nutrition. People with weakened immune systems or who suffer from malnutrition are at greater risk of severe leishmaniasis or developing complications. With early treatment, 90 percent of people are cured. The death rate is 15 to 25 percent in untreated cases, with death occurring in 3 to 20 months.
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Dangerous Diseases and Epidemics © 2002 by David Perlin, Ph.D., and Ann Cohen
“Leishmaniasis life cycle diagram en” by LadyofHats Mariana Ruiz Villarreal – Made myself using basically the information found here and here. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leishmaniasis_life_cycle_diagram_en.svg#/media/File:Leishmaniasis_life_cycle_diagram_en.svg