Leishmaniasis is an infection caused by the Leishmania spp parasite. It is contracted via repeated bites by an insect: the sandfly. It affects humans as well as other mammals (dogs, horses, etc .).
In dogs, leishmaniasis can result in severe weight loss, skin lesions, nose bleeds/clotting disorders, ulceration of the nose, deformed claws and limping. In visceral forms, internal organs can also be affected, causing anaemia, an increase in the size of lymph nodes, joint problems, a potentially severe renal impairment that can lead to the death of the infected animal.
Leishmaniasis is common in France since it is estimated that it affects about 1 million dogs (2.5 million in Europe)1.Endemic areas are mainly concentrated around the Mediterranean (Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy and southern France). Sandflies are active from spring until early autumn.
Currently, prevention is carried out through vaccination and the wearing of a repellent collar that prevents sandfly bites. However, coverage is not effective enough to prevent all infections.
1 Deureure et al. Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, Vol 9, n°6. 2009
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