There are two ways to avoid the development of leishmaniasis in your pet as: on the one hand, avoiding contact with infected sandflies (carriers of leishmania) and on the other hand, acting on the parasite.
For dogs living in endemic areas, it is very difficult to isolate them all the time from contact with these mosquito-like insects.
Routine practices such as keeping the animal indoors during the period of activity of the sandflies (from dusk to dawn), reducing light emissions (as mosquitoes are attracted to incandescence) and paying attention to doors and windows, taking care not to leave them open for too long, are domestic solutions that will protect them from a possible bite. The use of mosquito nets, fans and environmental insecticides is also highly recommended to reinforce protection inside the home.
INSECTICIDES AND REPELLENTS APPLIED TO THE DOG
Given the difficulty of putting into practice the above-mentioned protection indications, there are specific products on the veterinary market to reduce the number of sandfly bites. Insecticides or repellents on the dog (collars or pipettes…) have as their primary objective to reduce the risk of infection of a healthy dog but also to reduce the risk of transmission of leishmaniasis to other dogs and species as well as to control re-infestation with new parasites.
It should be noted that although insecticides and repellents applied directly on the dog reduce the number of bites, they do not prevent them one hundred percent, so the danger of leishmaniasis infection, although reduced, still exists.
VACCINATION AGAINST CANINE LEISHMANIASIS
Vaccination is the only preventive measure that acts on leishmania and not on the phlebotomine sandfly, i.e. it limits the development of the disease once the parasite has entered the dog’s organism. While insecticides and topical repellents reduce bites, vaccination protects the animal even if it has been bitten by an infected phlebotomine sandfly.
Spain being an area of high prevalence means most animals end up in contact with leishmania, even those who protect themselves regularly with insect repellents. That is why combining vaccination with the appropriate insecticides is the most effective method to protect the dog against the disease.
Vaccination against canine leishmaniasis is only indicated when the dog is healthy, i.e. when it is certain that it is not already suffering from the disease. It is therefore imperative that a diagnostic test be performed first to determine this. If the test is negative, vaccination can proceed. Otherwise, the veterinarian will have to confirm or rule out the diagnosis with other more complete tests.
Remember El Port Veterinary Clinic is in Altea in case of emergency or anything your pet may need. You can book an appointment through their website or by calling +34 966 880 612. The clinic is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday, while on Saturdays they can attend you from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
El Port Veterinary Clinic
Calle La Mar, 159, Altea – 03590 (Alicante)
Phone: +34 966 880 612