Leishmaniasis disease

Going south?

If you take your dog to the south of Europe on holiday, then it’s recommended to have it vaccinated against Leishmaniasis.

Leishmaniasis is a disease that occurs when the dog gets stung by a small fly (not to get confused with mosquitos). The insect transmits a parasite into the blood of the dog.

It is to be found in the southern European countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece.

The parasite gets into the cells of the dog, and the symptoms will typically be lack of interest in food, fever off/on, hair loss around the eyes and fatigue. The disease is incurable.

In the UK the disease is mostly seen in Greek dogs off the street who have come to Britain under Rescue, and other dogs imported from the south.

Dogs can be vaccinated against the disease with the vaccine CaniLeish, produced by the company Virbac.

The vaccination must be prepared well ahead of the travel. The dog needs 3 injections with an interval of 3 weeks to get immunity. Then it will need annual re-vaccination to maintain immunity.

The dog must be at least 6 months old before it gets vaccinated.

You should only vaccinate healthy dogs against Leishmaniasis. The dog needs a complete health check ahead of the vaccination.

If the dog has never been in the south, then the vaccination can be given without a problem.

If the dog has been in the south/or is under suspicion for having the disease, then it’s recommended that the dog is being tested with a blood sample before the vaccination is given.