How to protect a dog from Leishmaniasis

dog leishmaniasis

The chances of our dog becoming infected with Leishmania are increasingly high due to the significant climate change we are experiencing. Sandflies spread very easily thanks to high temperatures and these are the main transmitters of the disease. Let’s see in detail what is the best way to protect our dog from leishmaniasis.

What exactly is leishmaniasis?

It is a disease caused by a protozoan that can infect dogs through the bite of the sandfly insect. If a dog is infected with leishmaniasis, he will have this lifelong chronic disease. It presents a multitude of systemic symptoms and alterations in dogs, such as kidney, liver and skin problems among many others.

Symptoms of leishmaniasis in infected dogs

Depending on the degree and parasitic load that you have, the symptoms will range from their absence to severe clinical pictures. Symptoms can be systemic or general or cutaneous.

  1. Systemic or general: Weight loss, muscle atrophy, pale mucous membranes, epistaxis (nosebleeds), anemia.
  2. Kidney disorders: glomerulonephritis, kidney failure, elevated urea and creatinine, proteinuria (proteins in the urine).
  3. liver disorders: granulomatous hepatitis, increased transaminases (liver enzymes).
  4. digestive disorders: ascites, granulomatous ulcerative colitis, large bowel diarrhea with or without blood.
  5. traumatological alterations: intermittent lameness, polyarthritis due to deposition of Leishmania immune complexes…
  6. ocular alterations: conjunctivitis, keratitis, blepharitis, uveitis…
  7. Cutaneous: Lesion at the point of the bite, possibly twenty days after the bite, usually in areas devoid of hair. There will be nasal or plantar hyperkeratosis (dry skin).

We can see wounds and ulcers that become painfully chronic on the edges of the ears, interdigital spaces (of the pads), etc. We can also observe single or multiple nodules.

How is it spread? Leishmaniasis?

Sandflies, small insects barely three millimeters long, are responsible for the transmission of the Leishmaniasis in dogs (genus Phlebotomus in Eurasia and Africa and Lutzomyia in America). The females of these insects feed on the blood of dogs through a discreet sting, with which they can also spread the disease.

They look like a small, hairy mosquito, and they reproduce very easily in hot climates. In the past they were found more frequently in coastal areas with warm climates or places with water (reservoirs, rivers, etc…). But currently They have spread across almost the entire the danger of contagion is much higher.

These types of insects act mainly at dusk, when the sun begins to set. Although they can act at any time of the day or night really.

Why are there now more leishmaniasis infections?

Climate change is one of the main causes that sandflies are spreading to other areas where they did not live before. The increase in temperature greatly facilitates the reproduction of these insects, which feel very comfortable with temperatures above eighteen degrees centigrade.

That is why it is important to protect our dogs with preventive measures, to avoid contagion and the many health problems it can cause.


How to protect a dog against leishmaniasis

Prevention is the best medicine that we can apply to our dog, preventing it from becoming infected is our main objective and for this we can use antiparasitic collars that include sandflies, such as the well-known Scalibor.

We can also vaccinate our dog against leishmaniasis annually, since there is a vaccine for leishmaniasis, although said vaccine does not offer 100% protection in case of contagion.

That is why prevention is the best tool we have to protect our dog. Let’s see in detail how the Scalibor collar works and what it does to protect our dog against leishmaniasis.

Scalibor Necklace

The Scalibor collar is known to be the most effective in protecting against parasites in dogs, it is very simple to use since we simply have to adjust it to the neck of our dog and let it act. It presents an effective protection against fleas, ticks and sandflies responsible for the spread of leishmaniasis. Let’s look at some of its benefits:

  • Continuous and persistent protection for 12 months against sandflies*
  • Effective protection against fleas and ticks
  • It can get wet
  • Suitable for puppies from seven weeks of age
  • Suitable for pregnant and/or lactating dogs
  • Developed by MSD Animal Health

*Samara Paulin, Régis Frénais, Emmanuel Thomas Email author and Paul M. Laboratory assessment of the anti-feeding effect for up to 12 months of a slow release deltamethrin collar (Scalibor®) against the sand fly Phlebotomus perniciosus in dogs. Baldwin. Parasites & Vectors 2018 11:529.


We all know that climate change is a reality, it is enough to see the numerous heat waves that we are suffering during this last year to realize that the climate is changing drastically.

This makes many insects comfortable in places where cold climates once predominated, and which have now become tropical or warm. Among them, the feared sandfly that is the cause of spreading Leishmania.

Protecting our dog is the best solution because if it becomes infected, there is no treatment to cure the disease, but it will suffer from chronic leishmaniasis during all his life, with the health problems and veterinary expenses that this entails. Our recommendation is to protect dogs with a highly effective antiparasitic collar against sandflies, such as Scalibor.