Leishmania is not to be feared, instead it is to be understood, as you would with a dog with any illness, previous or current. Awareness is key in order to treat your Leish positive dog or your Negative read dog.. who can become positive in time. With correct treatment a ‘Leish dog’ can live a great life, but understanding a dog from a Mediterranean country is imperative to a healthy, happy life. So if you’re considering adopting either a positive Leish dog… or Negative dog… please read and understand what could occur.
Leishmaniasis in dogs is a disease caused by the infection of a dog due to the Leishmania infantum parasite and by the response that establishes the dog against this parasitic infection. This parasite is widely distributed throughout the Mediterranean basin, but needs a particular insect, which in Spain is the mosquito Phlebotomus Perniciosus to sting an infected dog and then a healthy one so it can spread among the population. Once infected, the dog’s immune system detects the presence of the parasite in its blood cells, and begins to establish attack measures to destroy it. The dog can do this by making antibodies, a type of protein capable of detecting the parasite, or by forming special cells that will directly engulf the infected cells and the parasite inside. The first system, the antibody, fails to eliminate the parasite, so that the infection progresses, and the dog goes on and on making antibodies trying to defeat it. Paradoxically, it is these antibodies manufactured that fail to destroy the parasite, which will cause much of the problems that the dog will suffer. However, if the dog manages to organize a good army of killer cells, the infection will either be kept at bay or even eliminated.
Once affected, your dog will become a chronic sufferer, leading a normal life for the rest of his life, however there is always a risk of relapse in the event of other debilitating diseases.
If you are adopting a dog who has had Leish, he or she would have already had treatment in Spain and re-tested until Negative before he/she came into our care. That involved two types of medication intended to combat Leishmania The first phase of treatment is more intense and usually lasts a month. It is then extended to a minimum of 6 months with milder medication. We will be able to provide proof of testing and re-testing from the Spanish Shelter for all our Galgos, and the treatment that was administered.
As a precaution and responsible owner, we advise all adopters of Galgos to have a PCR test carried out on their adopted Galgo on an annual basis.