Europe is going to develop vaccine against canine leishmaniasis

canine leishmania patient

Canine leishmania patient

Canine leishmaniasis is a serious parasitic disease that can be fatal and is caused by the Leishmania parasite infection. The parasite is transmitted to dogs by infected insect bites about, sandflies, mosquitoes often misnamed.

Its symptoms include fever, hair loss (especially around the eyes), weight loss, skin ulcers and abnormal growth of nails. Dogs can also suffer from anemia, arthritis and renal dysfunction that can cause death. The expensive current treatments only help control the symptoms but not cure the disease, unfortunately.

It is estimated that there are 2.5 million infected dogs in southwest of Europe. The regions and countries of the Mediterranean basin represent a high risk to dogs and why they all should be vaccinated.

Currently, the disease is spreading from southern Europe to the north as a result of climate change and the increasing number of people traveling with their dogs.

During the winter and cold temperatures sandflies remain in a state of larvae and are harmless. Danger season begins with the heat, usually from May, and ends with the arrival of the cold.

Canine leishmaniasis is a real threat to all dog breeds, though some, like the Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, Rottweilers and German Shepherd dogs are more likely than average to develop symptoms. Other breeds, like the Ibizan Hound, rarely develop clinical signs.

The risk of infection depends on exposure to infected sandflies bites. Despite the availability of repellent sprays, pipettes and collars, canine leishmaniasis is still a major threat in Europe. Some infected dogs can eliminate the infection and remain infected without developing symptoms. Dogs without symptoms can easily transmit the infection to other dogs.

The first vaccine against canine leishmaniasis Europe

In the context of the extremely variable nature of canine leishmaniasis, it is very important to minimize the number of animals with asymptomatic infection. These dogs which are not showing the disease, out of concern unless the owner is aware of it, but they are infectious to the sandfly and, therefore, they continue to contribute significantly to the spread of the disease. In these cases the animals are also at risk of progressing to a symptomatic stage more serious.

Company called “Virbac” after 20 years of research, launches the first and only vaccine in Europe that prevents canine leishmaniasis. The vaccine can be given to puppies starting from six months: the full vaccination program consists of three doses administered at intervals of three weeks and provides a prolonged internal defense against disease. Only need annual boosters to maintain protective immunity of the dog.

Leishmania can parasites on

Canine leishmaniasis is a disease caused by Leishmania parasites that can infect various vertebrate animals (e.g dogs) and humans. It is transmitted by the bite of a tiny insect (the sandfly or “sand flies”) infection, often incorrectly called “mosquito”. The dog is the main reservoir in Europe, but the infection can be transmitted between species. This is a serious veterinary problem and is also of concern to public health.