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Animal Welfare in Greece:

Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease caused by flagellate protozoa of the genus leishmania.

It is a zoonotic disease, common to human and many animal species. It is transmitted by the bite of a blood sucking sand fly (Phlebotomus papatasi) that is slowly becoming endemic in many parts of the world where the weather is warm enough. This includes Central and South America, India, parts of North America and the Mediterranean basin.

The canine version of this disease is known as Canine Lesihmaniasis or Kala Azar. It is a serious disease that will eventually kill a dog if left untreated. Most dogs will die of kidney failure.

The disease manifests itself in two forms: with skin or cutaneous infections and visceral or organ infections.

Virtually all dogs will develop the visceral form of the disease. Ninety percent will also have cutaneous involvement. The clinical signs associated with the visceral form include fever, anorexia, weakness, exercise intolerance, severe weight loss, diarrhoea, vomiting, bleeding from the nose, and blood in the stool (usually seen as dark, tarry stools, called melena). Most dogs will develop swollen lymph nodes and an enlarged spleen, and will progress to kidney failure.

Clinical signs of the cutaneous form most commonly include thickening and hardening of the tissues on the muzzle and footpads, called hyperkeratosis. Many dogs will lose the pigment or dark coloring of these tissues as the disease progresses. Nodules or hard lumps may form in the skin, and the coat often appears dull and brittle with areas of hair loss.*

The disease is diagnosed with a blood test. If you suspect that your pet has the disease do not delay it getting it tested by your vet as the prognosis will be very grave if left untreated.


Please see this article for a very comprehensive description of this disease, how it is spread and its clinical signs.