Kiersten Rowland

Adventures, Travel & Photography

Our Experience With Canine Leishmaniasis

29 May 2009

Reading time: 81 mins

Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by the bite of a sandfly. When the sandfly bites the parasite is passed on to the dog. It attacks the immune system which leaves the dog unable to fight infections and disease’s as well as a healthy one. The maximum risk of infection in our part of Spain is between May - September. At the moment there is no cure for canine leishmaniasis as the parasite continues to live in the bone marrow but there are drugs available to manage the disease.

The main drugs used in Spain are Glucantime, Alopurinol and Levamisol. Glucantime - An injection given into a muscle in the back leg - Kills the parasite Alopurinol - Tablet - Given to protect the kidneys Levamisol - Tablet - Antiparasite and increases the dogs defence’s There are ways to protect your dog although none are 100% effective. A Scalibor collar seems to be the most effective, they are still active when wet and also control tick and fleas. Care should be taken when fitting a new collar as some dogs can have a reaction to them.

Rocky getting better after suffering with hair loss, dermatitis and skin lesions
Rocky getting better after suffering with hair loss, dermatitis and skin lesions

Symptoms of leishmaniasis can include - severe weight loss, lethargy, depression, hair loss, lesions, dermatitis, distended stomach, nose bleeds. Rocky - Black Labrador, Bruno - Leonberger and Khumbu - Siberian Husky We first noticed something wrong with Rocky when his coat became dull, had scurfy skin and began to loose weight even with a good appetite.

A local vet took some blood and put him on a course of tablets. Some months later he was still loosing weight, was loosing hair and began to get lesions. We took him to another vet, an English speaking one, who again took some blood. The results came back as leishmaniasis positive and a count of over 5000. He immediately started treatment. I had to give him 2 injections of Glucantime every other day for 12 days, 6 days of injections.

The injection is given in a muscle of the back leg and can become progressively more painful as the course goes on. There is also a nerve that runs down the leg so you have to be quite accurate. Rocky was hit quite badly by his treatment, imagine your body being ill already and then having to be pumped full of poison to cure you, I guess its similar to treatment for cancer! We were warned that he would feel quite ill whilst the injections were happening.

I would cook him chicken, sit in the kennel and hand feed him. Day by day he got a little stronger and when the injections finished he started the tablet medication. He was also put onto a food to help protect his kidneys. He had one of each tablet every day. He was re-blood tested and the count had gone down to 2560. He continued on his daily tablets and we got our cheeky playful Rocky back. One day Bruno had a nose bleed, it stopped, then a few hours later it started again. We took him to the vet who gave him something to stop the bleeding and took a blood test.

His results came back as leishmaniasis positive, with a count of 80 which is low but still positive. The vet asked us to bring our other dog Khumbu a Siberian Husky to be blood tested and he came back as negative. Bruno started a course of the tablets but for a short time only. Recently we noticed Rocky being a little off colour, nothing much but he just wasn’t himself. He was still wagging his tail and coming on daily walks. He went back to the vet for a blood test, his yearly test was nearly due, and the result showed that his count had gone up.

All the dogs were given new Scalibor collars and Rocky started his injections again, it is common for dogs to have relapses. We then took Bruno and Khumbu for their nearly due blood test. Khumbu now had a count of 40 which is an inconclusive count and has to be retested in 6 months time. Bruno’s count had come back as 2560! Rocky finished his injections but was not responding well at all, we knew he was going to take a knock from these injections but this time something was different, he was behaving as if he was blind.

The vet tested his eye sight and found that his pupils were slow to react to different light. It turns out he had had a reaction to the newly fitted Scalibor collar whilst having his injections. This is where Rockys story takes a sad turn. His collar was removed immediately, his neck was washed and he was given various medications to try and combat the poison. On his last day, he was a happy dog, wagging his tail and walking to the car for his trip to the vet (I honestly thought then that he was going to get over this).  That afternoon he deteriorated. He was passing liquid diarrhea with a lot of blood in it.

In a matter of 2 hours, unfortunately his kidneys could not rid his body of the toxins and the kindest thing for Rocky was to put him to sleep. He is now out of pain and at peace. Because all this was happening, Bruno’s treatment was delayed until it was understood what was happening to Rocky. Bruno started his injections yesterday. I have spent a week researching this awful disease and trying to work out what is best for Bruno. The research all pointed to immediate treatment. I nervously gave him his injections, (I had lost my confidence from dealing with Rocky) but he was a good boy, stood still for me and concentrated on his biscuit that he was being fed.

Hopefully with Bruno being young and otherwise healthy dog he will be one of the lucky ones and not get anymore clinical signs. Our vet has been great and was always available for Rocky. We thank him for all that he tried to do for Rocky. From doing some research and “forum”ing, we have found that black Labrador’s seem to be very susceptible to this disease! Is it coincidence? Bad breeding? Who knows. On a brighter note there is a vaccine that is in the later stages of its trial, should it prove succesful, then it maybe available in 2/3 years time and could be a revolution for animal and human health in many places in the world.

A good information site about canine leishmaniasis is called Leishmaniasis I’m not sure how up to date it is but the general information on understanding the disease very useful. A study has been carried out in the Alpujarras region of Andalucia and this link will take you to the [results page](http://www.cdc.gov/EID/content/15/5/795.htm). If anyone has any other sites that maybe of use please let me know what they are. I think there is a lack of information available to the people like us, who came originally from a country that is canine leishmaniasis free.

Another disease that I have been informed about which has very similar signs to Leishmaniasis is Ehrlichiosis and is transmitted by ticks. As you can see it is a complete minefield out there, I’m no expert, these are just my thoughts and my experience with canine leishmaniasis.

Comments

Nicki: I feel for you. Just found out our one dog is suffering from this and have started on the injections. He is suffering badly with nose bleeds which don’t stop for hours at a time. It is very distressing for us all. I hope Bruno has responded well to treatment.

Ann O-A: So sorry for you all. My Boxer (Sanchez)is in Cyprus (I have moved back to UK)due to unavailable flights he has been kept tnere in kennels for over 2 wks. He is losing weight and 2 tests have been done but they are not positive but probable. I am hoping to get my brother in-law to take him and start treatment and then I will go back out next wk and continue his treatment. This has been the worst wk of my life and Sanchez will be so stressed. I truly hope Bruno and Khumbu are responding well to there treatment and they will live long and happy lives.

Joanne Harris: Hi my rescue dog was diagnosed with Leishmaniasis in March 2009. It took 3 years to get her diagnosed due to the way tests are in the UK. She was basically dying and we were so worried about her. The disease had affected her muscles, eye and skin. Further investigation there was kidney damage. I have done alot of research into the subject and myself and my vet are doing are best. My dog started on Allpurinol, she weighs 20kg and is on 400mg per day. She had this for 1 month and then was put on a new drug called miltefosine for 1 month and still taking her allpurinol. She has just finished her miltefosine and is a different dog. Her blood tests have all improved and urine protein/creatinine ratio was 12 it is meant to be below 1, last test showed it is 2.9. She has blood tests, blood pressure and urine every 2 weeks and is due her next today.

Michelle: I too have a rescue dog diagnosed with leishmaniasis. At the moment he seems to be doing well on allpurinol, but I am always aware it can return. he was diagnosed 1 year ago. I didn’t know it’s best to keep blood tests up to date, my vet has not mentioned this, but then again they know very little about the disease. I will get him tested this week. If anybody has any tips or info on medication that I can pass on to my vet I would be most grateful, I would hate for something to happen and there was something I missed. Harvey takes 300 mg twice a day - he is 28kg. I sincerely hope your dogs get through this and we have happy endings……

ulver elenh: levamizole is not appropriate for treating canine leishmaniasis,it can kill your dog the proper therapy is alopurinole + miltefosine which is the most effective method with minimum side effects and i am a greek veterinary doctor and have been researching leishmania for the last 7 years

Ginny: We have just adopted a wonderfully natured 2 year old German Pointer in Spain. Within a week he was having nosebleeds and has spent 5 days in canine hospital with severe kidney problems. The diagnosis leishmania. He returned home yesterday and has been presecibed miltefosine 2.2mg a day and other drugs temporarily to help his kidneys and other problems. The vet is not sure if his kidneys will recover. He is very very thin and drinks an awful lot but otherwise seems healthy. We are keeping our fingers crossed that he pulls through and making the most of the time we have with him. He will be on a special diet for dogs that can not deal well with protein for life….

Karen Shaw: Hi there, Today we found out that our beloved rescue dog Nev has leishmania. Four years ago when he was thrown from a car and came to us he had a small bite on his muzzle, our vet treated him and there were no signs on anything bad. Nev has been a very healthy and happy dog ever since with regular booster shots, frontline and his scalibor collar. In the last week he has developed itching with such ferocity that he has bled, dry and dull coat and sticky eyes. At first I thought he had a reaction to pollen or cement from work being done at home but then I feared something worse and so he went to our vets. He is now on a course of injections backed up with antibiotics and other tablets we have to wait 15 days to see how he responds to treatment. The worse thing is that this disease has laid dormant for 4 years to attack Nev with no warning signs, we just hope and pray he will be ok.

Lesley: Hi My dog has also just been diagnosed as well as having Erhlichiosis. She is on alpurinol and miltefosine. She seems much more lively but we are waiting results of blood tests.

Olivia: I was looking for information on the sandfly disease when I came over this forum. The information out there seems to be everywhere and I can’t get my head around it although I normally have no difficulty searching. Your comments feel so close to what we are passing through. Suzy my two year old has just been diagnosed with the disease after s traumatic nose bleed where she could not stop. The vet managed to get it under control but she lost so much blood that she has been given plasma twice. Apparently she had the disease for one year with no indication to us except the nosebleed coming out of nowhere although in hindsight she was never a great eater. Today is day 5 after the noseblood, she has taken one round of injection and three days of double dose pills. She pees and poos ok although we are worried for her liver. She has also been given antibiotics and medicine for her kidneys. Has been one of the worst weeks of our life seeing her like this and all wondering if she is suffering. We are also trying to understand if with such a case she may actually recover from it? Any comments or thoughts are appreciated it. Tommorrow is her next dose of injections, we are fearing her pain in taking them but then if it’s some pain for a better life ….. We try and keep the bigger picture in mind. Reading similar experiences has helped feel closer to someone who understands what we and the dog are going through. Sometimes we feel at a loss what to look out for or what more information to give to the vet. How do we know she is really getter any better? Is it when she starts eating on her own or is the disease just hiding to spring up again? Trying to take one day at a time at the moment as the larger picture feels overwhelming to take in….

Melissa Vero: To give you all a bit of hope - we have a rescue dog ( in Portugal) who tested positive for leishmans when he was 2. He was very thin and looked as though he would die - however after he had all the jabs and then Alopurinal - which I had to stop after a while as it made him sick, he completely recovered. Buffy is now 10……. It has, unfortunatley, come back in the last month - manifesting itself as an obviously very painful front leg. I do not think that the story will have a happy ending this time - but he has had a great life with no signs of illness or discomfort except for a sore on his ear that never heals.

Charlie mason: I am wandering if a dog can catch leish by being bitten by a contaminated dog? We have had a problem with a wild dog in our garden in Portugal, who has lesions on his legs, is very skinny and has blood coming from his mouth. Yesterday my 8 yr old Cocker Spaniel went after the dog and got in a scrap with him, returning with a bleeding eye. We took her to the vet and she has been given antibiotics and eye cream but we are waiting a week before having her blood tested for leish. We also discovered that our 10 month old Heinz 57 rescue dog had a strange lesion in his ear, which the vet was very concerned about and we are waiting for the blood test result, which we should get tomorrow. I am just wandering whether leish can be passed from dog to dog, without the help of the sandfly. Very worried for all my dogs, as also have a 7 month old Cocker Spaniel who plays with the Heinz 57 a lot. They all have Scalibor collars. Any information would be appreciated, we are worried sick.

Sandra Walsh: My dog has also recently been bitten. Checked her immediately for any serious wounds. No blood and couldn’t find any teeth marks but the wound hasn’t healed after 3 weeks and is very red and bald in that area. The dog is constantly scratching it eventhough it is difficult to reach (on the middle of her back). I only noticed that it hasn’t been healing after stripping her yesterday. I’ve been avoiding the grooming because I’ve read that the longer and more hair they have the better it may be for protecting against leishmaniasis. All the vets are closed on Sats & Suns so couldn’t get professional opinion. I guess I’ll have to wait until Monday. My dogs come from Holland originally and did NOT have any illnesses. Since we’ve come to live in Spain the older one, who was bit, walks like she has no energy and doesn’t jump anymore; She jumps with great difficulty for her favourite treat. She is an 11 year old Jack Russell and was very energetic until about 6 months ago…. and has gotten less energetic with time. I’m not sure if she’s just got the senior blues or perhaps she contracted the “L”. In the last 3 weeks since bitten she has gotten weaker but always surprises us with a spurt of energy to hunt. Goodness, I would also like to know if a dog can get the “L” from another dog! Can someone, preferrably a vet answer our question.

Kiersten: It is my understanding that leish can only be passed on to another dog by the bite of a sandfly not the bite of another dog. Hope your dogs have recovered from the various incidents they have been in. There is now a vaccine out against leish for dogs who are not leish positive. Its in Portugal at the moment and I believe it is to be here in Spain soon.

Alicia: Hi my dog has just been diagnosed with leishnaniasis but the very strange thing is that I live in Northern CA. I have been told by my vet that the drugs that are best for treating this disease are not available here in the US. Does anyone know if this is true or not? Also for those of you who have treated your dogs do you think it is worth putting them through the pain and suffering? How bad is for them? I love my dog sooo much and the thought of loosing him is really tearing me up. I have two other dogs and I read that it is very rare for dog to dog transmission. My vet said there has never been a case of leish reported here although there has been some on the East Coast. Any information would be helpful. The vet here is researching this now because they have never seen a case of this. I’m feeling a bit helpless……………

Kiersten: Hi Alicia im sorry im unable to help you with regards the drug situation in US but….. if you are able to get the drugs then do go through with the treatment. It is changing all the time and is less of a problem now to the dogs. Before it was not a major problem more so for us than the dogs. With some treatment your dog should go on to lead a normal life with yearly check ups. Ive asked on facebook and twitter (there are many knowlegeable people in the doggie cyber world) to see if anyone can help. Will keep in touch. This is the most popular drug at the moment :- miltefosine oral treatment of leishmaniasis if you search this you will find lots of info and pass it onto your vet. Now also in Spain we have a vaccine about to come out. It is only for dogs who do not have the disease yet, but it maybe worth mentioning to your vet also its called CaniLeish. This link is also worth reading http://www.ema.europa.eu/ema/index.jsp?curl=pages/medicines/veterinary/medicines/002232/smops/Positive/vet_smop_000042.jsp&murl;=menus/medicines/medicines.jsp∣=WC0b01ac058008d7aa&jsenabled;=true Also ive just found this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canine_leishmaniasis if you go to the section called treatment it speaks about the US Please keep me posted.

Kiersten: Also have a read of this site it may have information for you http://bakerinstitute.vet.cornell.edu/animalhealth/page.php?id=1099

Alicia: Kiersten, I feel much better going through with the treatment (should I be able to get the medicine) hearing from someone that has been through it. I will keep you posted with any new information. Thank you so much for your reply! Alicia

nicki: Hi, I put a message on her 2 years ago about my dog Hugo being diagnosed then with Leish. He had the injections, which did knock him about and it was touch and go but he was brilliant afterwards. We have noticed he is not looking his best again so will be taking him next week for a blood test to see if it has returned. He is just on one alpurinol a day at the moment.

Lee: Hi All, I have two rescue dogs who have the disease. Both have lived healthy happy lives for the last 6-14 years. One is now almost 14 and is dying. I’m in the US and it is hard to get treatment, but my french vet helps. The things that worked for me, is routine checkups and new injections whenever the numbers get high. Daily (twice daily) allopironul. And very high quality food for your dog. Low in protein, lots of veggies, etc. My dogs are a Briard and a boarder collie. The boarder collie’s numbers were quite high, the Briard’s lower (the vet caught it earlier.) Good luck and keep spirits up. Dogs can live a good long life even with this disease. One word of caution, if you are in the US, the CDC is recommending all dogs w the disease get euthunanized. If in the US, make sure you know and trust your vet. I recently moved and went to a new vet. I told her the dog has leish and she reported it to the feds! There are zero causes of transmission from dogs to humans in the US, but that doesn’t stop CDC from recommending euthanizing.

Deb Hinds-Wood: I have just read this and some of the comments because we always test rescues for Mediterranean diseases and one has come back with having Leish but with no symptoms. However, I am looking to find out exactly what the blood tests mean, eg, what is a high count, what is borderline and what is normal. I also need to know when to use Glucantine. The last one was given 1 ampule per day for 30 days and the tablets half twice a day (300mg). The last one recovered extremely well and is now in her new home and continuing to take her tablets. We seem to have conflicting ideas with the vets as to when and what treatment should be started. Do we start straight away on the Glucantine which is like chemotherapy? Or do we just give the pills and have another blood test in a month? What a minefield! If you have any ideas on this, please email me.

Melissa B: Please folks, ask your vet about Ivomec - it is an off-label treatment for dogs with Leish, normally used as an anti parasitic for cattle. Dosage is very important and has to be 100% correct - too much and it can be dangerous, too little and effectiveness is reduced. I treated my rescue mongrel with Ivomec for 4 months, carefully monitored of course. He already had Leish and a number of conditions when we found him - Rickettsia, Ehrlichia, Demodex, and a few more nasties too. His immune system was non-existent and the Amitraz dips that our first vet prescribed did nothing to help this. Obviously my dog’s case was complicated because we were treating several conditions at once and if your dog just has Leish, then the dips may prove effective, but they had a negative effect on my dog. Before trying Ivomec, I’d done most of the other treatments which are recommended by vets in Spain, none had any long term effect. Thing is, this treatment is very cheap, one reason that many vets prefer to prescribe other, more profitable drugs. 7 years on, my dog is in good health, and long may it continue Even if your dog already has Leish, please use either a Scalibor collar or use the Advantix drops (every 3 weeks to help prevent Leish being contracted) as another bite can activate the dormant Leish which is always present in your dog, even if he has no symptoms and his blood work is good. Please note that the season for sandfly in the Northern hemisphere can range from March through to October, it peaks at the beginning and the end of the season, so one Scalibor collar is not effective for the whole of that time - I use one starting in March (sooner if the weather is warm for more than several days) and then change to a new collar in July - more expensive, but at least the collars will be effective during the sandfly’s peak times. It goes without saying that dogs should be sleeping indoors and not be going out at dawn/dusk (sandfly’s most active times) Also DO NOT use any kind of medication with steroids - it lowers the immune system further - my Spanish vet told me this and then prescribed cortisone cream for my dog’s terrible skin. I read the label and asked the vet - he admitted he’d “made a mistake” So check and double check everything your vet does - they’re not Gods!

Melissa B: Just re-read my (too long) post Sorry for confusion, I didn’t mean that the Amitraz dips are for a dog with Leish - it’s just that my dog had demodex manage as well as the Leish, so we were treating a number of conditions Often, Demodex is a sign that there is another condition present (such as Leish) and the dips are to kill the mange mites We found the best way to strengthen the immune system is high quality food and lots of cuddles, obviously in conjunction with the meds from a vet that you trust.

roughseasinthemed: Just came over here via Rumpy’s (I’m Pippa’s person, the dog with the tick disease, interviewed by Rumpy). So sorry to hear about Rocky :(. It is important that we share information about care and treatment which is why I wrote up a lot about erlichia canis. I’ll check up the link about the vaccine in Spain and ask our vet next time we visit.

Jacob Bane: Hi Kiersten, I was very sad to read about Rocky and I hope the other two are coping well. I just recently wrote a piece about the Virbac vaccine for Leishmaniasis; it’s called CaniLeish. I’ve posted it here in the hope that it helps - http://www.dog-rescue-spain.com/help/new-leishmaniasis-vaccine-now-available-at-vets/ Best regards. Jacob.

Louise: Hi can anyone help with getting hold of glucantime? V. Expensive via uk importers. Does anyone know how we can get it directly from Spain? Any help welcomed thank you

lesley Lillie: Hi, my son and his partner recently rescued a beautiful cocker spaniel from spain knowing that she has leish. she has been on Allopurinol tablets and was doing so well they stopped giving her the tablets. however within a week or so she has started to deterioate, symptons being nose bleed,weight loss lethargy and anaemia. they have started her back on the tablets, do you think they will be able to bring her back ? she is approx 3 years old,or do you think that she may need a boost of injections ?

Sandra Knott: Chica is a rescue dog. She was diagnosed with elephantiases 3 years ago . She was given firstly injection then a daily tablet for life. She is our life. very nice natured,a natural hunter and oh how she loves her food. A few weeks ago we noticed she had a very sore tongue and took her back to our vet with her three brothers. She was diagnosed with a mouth ulcer and given treatment for it. Because they were all due there yearly jab for rabies etc.. Since then Chica has become very poorly. Her blood count has risen and it looks as though our beloved dog has a battle ahead. The mediation we have to give her has caused her to be sick and very lethargic. She no longer walks and wont eat. Her weight has dropped off her. My partner and myself adore her but don’t want her to suffer. Do you think she has a chance of survival. She is seven.

jaine thorne: this is such an informative forum, both my dogs were diagnosed with Leish a year ago, they have had two lots of treatment with Miltefloran and now my black lab is fine and just on Alpurinol but my GSD is now secondary and he is to be looked at in 3 months time, with possibility of more treatment he too is on Alpurinol. He looks fine now and his coat is back to normal, he eats well and is not drinking too much or scratching excessivly, [he will stop if I tell him, which makes me think it is habit as well now] But, he has just started having the nosebleeds again. Not for long, just a few seconds, and had about 3 in last 5 days. Not like the blood before, this is clear red blood. Does anyone else have this experience? I hope it is not getting worse. I am praying that this is just a blip, or even because of the heat the moment or something, as it has got really hot really quick this year in Spain. Any experiences would be so appreciated. Thanks Jaine

len.: i have had an english setter rescue for the last 2 days. he has a mild form of leish. the vet tells me he will give him liquid which he must take daily for 28 days & then he will be o.k. ? the blood test results…….. the vet says that all his internal organs are good & that the disease is in its early steges. ????? len. pego.

Fionna Ashman: Hi Kirsten I am so sorry to yea about Rocky. What a lucky dog to have had you. I run a rescue -www.lizziesbarn.co.uk in Wales, UK. & we have taken in a few Spanish dogs for a friend. Who is returning the uk, after years of working with abandoned dogs. All have terrible histories. One, Annoe , a Catalan Sheepdog x , of about 3yrs old, has Leish. She is in remmision & on daily Alopurinol. Does anyone have any info on UK vets who have experience with treating it? I would like to get her count checked, before spaying - also need to know about special precautions for the op ie should she have vitamin k or a lotto g factor before / during / after. Our vet seems uninterested. Thanks everyone. Fionna & Annie

kierst: This is a post from a friend, we decided to share her story. About 6 weeks ago a little dog turned up under our truck to die. It was in such a bad state it was hard to see what sex it was,her fur was completly matted up and her snout and legs,and haunches were covered in big round open sores,also her fur was falling out,her tail and ears had been cut off. We just put a bit of food there and she kept eating a little,after a few days we realised we couldnt leave her like that ,and she stopped eating so we force fed her and gave her water in a syringe,next day she ate really well and has done since. We first thought it was sarcoptic mange,folliculitis,and distemper,so we quarantined her from our other dogs,picked off 300 ticks and a few fleas,and gave her a bath,in hydrogen peroxide,really diluted with borax,this was to kill any mites and clean her up its quite gentle. We started feeding her from then in on the same raw food diet that our other dogs are on. We just wanted to boost her immune system,so we added paul darco tea,tincture of neem,tumeric and daitomecous earth tsp 3 times a day to worm her. Valarian to calm her down and help her sleep,she was terrified, Zinc,cod liver oil,and in the begining high doses of vit c,6-8grams aday cus i thought she had distemper. We put clay under bandages which helped heal the front legs quite quickly,and the haunches and back legs have taken longer ,are healing nicely now.Her snout healed with in days. When she had the nose bleed i started to look at Leish. So now weve started in the last week adding sea salt once a day,and making her drink water with a micro algae in called chlorella,1 tsp in water over the day. Also covering her in mixture of neem,hypericum,lavender n oregano oil. Today she has had her third bath,and the folliculitus looks good,and the sores are smaller and healing. And shes breathing clearly,and her nose is not bunged up,bit of stuff in the eyes. I will update this once a week or so…….xx

Ann: Hi, I have read all the information about this awful disease with great interest. I have two little rescue dogs, Susie who is 13 next week, and Harry who is 5. We live on the Costa Blanca. Susie was diagnosed with it 4 years ago, but we caught it very early. She had a course of Miltephosine for 28 days and we watched her getting younger and younger! She has been fine for the last 4 years, but has regular blood tests every 3 months to keep an eye on it. There is a new vaccine here which prevents the disease, but when we took Harry to get the blood test for it, the vet said it was too late, he already has it. She says he is very sick and that his kidneys are badly infected. He is on Miltephosine as well, and Alpurinol, and stuff to make him eat (not working) and vitamin pills, and he is not his happy little slef at all. The vet said both dgs must have a low protein diet, but this is the first time she has mentioned that, she said she “thought we would know”, but how if she doesn’t tell us! Now (this afternoon) he is having trouble with his left eye, he keeps scratching it as though he has an eye lash in it or something. I have bathed it with cool water, but it doesn’t seem to help. Guess it’s another trip to the vet tomorrow for Harry, it’s sad, we thought Susie would be the first to go because of her age, not Harry. Ann

SusieB: Hi! Thanks for an informative forum. However treating my rescued dog Rosie who has been diagnosed this week with leish and something else ? possible a tickborn disease means a whole lot of medicine. Vitamin K, doxiclat, and omexaprole. initially. Now something to boost her immune system Leisguard (by mouth) and the hard bit she will begin a month of Glucantime injections administered by me. I have been giving her chcken with her biscuits and she has been eating well with it.. Now I read here that she should be on low protein diet. My vet said nothing about this though….any references about this that are useful please?

EB: Hello everyone, Let’s hope they find a cure for this awful disease fast. I can’t believe how many of us (people and – most importantly – our dogs) are struggling with it! I also have a somewhat happy story to tell that may give some of you hope! And then, I have some questions… My dog was diagnosed with Leish 8 years ago (he’s now 10) when I lived in Greece. Our vet there told us to give him allopurinol orally everyday from then on, and the disease stayed dormant for 8 years, until two months ago. The only problem we had were kidney stones, which were controlled when we started to feed him hills u/d. (That’s the good part! Now for my questions:) Last month, I took him to the vet’s for a bout of fever and lethargy, and it turns out that his kidneys are damaged and that he now has two tickborne diseases (the Leish wears down their immune system and makes them very vulnerable). The vet told me to stop the Allopurinol and prescribed antibiotics for the tick disease for 3 months, and Fortekor to assist his kidneys, but nothing for the Leish! We also started to feed him Hills k/d, but he doesn’t like it and he has no appetite. I have been reading about Miltefosine and I also read that omega 3 helps kidney function… I would love to hear if anyone else has these same problems and what your vet told you to do. I am worried because my vet is great but has no experience with Leishmaniasis since there is none in this region. Thanks, hugs to you all and to your dogs!

Claire: Hi everyone… Its sad room read these storys, but also comforting to know we are not alone to deal with such a disease. Max my beautiful boxer cross is now 10 years old, i got him from benidorm pound when he was a year old. At three years old he was diagnosed with leishmania, however he showed classic signs very quickly, white around the eyes and skin lesions on his head. my vet was fantastic, he showed me how to give max his injections and was also put on allopurinol full time. his blood result was 1/160 Over a year or so his bloods came down to 1/140 which kind of means its inactive., so now after 7 years he is on 300mg for the first 10 days in every month with only a few set backs along the way…he is a lucky boy:-) However i and max came back to the UK a year ago, last week was his first blood test and antibodies test on the UK. the result came back at 16…this i don’t understand but guess is the same as 1/160 Should this be the case my Spanish vet would Have max back on his mediation full time as this usually means the disease is active. however the English vet states that all his blood tests were ok… is it me am i worried for no reason or am i right to fear that English vets Have little or no experience of this disease??? Would love to hear your comments Xxx clair and max x ps for info only i get all my friends to bring stack loads of allopurinol when the come to visit me as too expensive here.x

Sue: All these stories are so sad. I lost a black lab to this disease several years ago and today have had a blood test come back positive on my little pointer cross. I’m going to treat her as its early stages, but we had to have the lab put down. i’ve also lost a dog to a snake bite. Living in the Med makes a hostile environment for animals.

Lesley: Thank you for an informative site, it has helped us understand a bit better the symptoms and types of treatments available. Have just heard our 2.5 year old x breed female Midnight has Leishmanaisis. Have to wait til monday to begin treatment. Feel a bit shocked and sad at the diagnosis but more able to ask informed questions to the vet when we visit. Midnight and her brothers were born to a stray in the garden, we were not able to touch the mother but she allowed us to touch for her pups when they were a few weeks old. Two of the pups were blind, one only during the day, it appears he has some type of abnormality in the light receptors on his retinas. All pups had blue colour reflecting from their eyes when light is shone at them (instead of red). The vet thinks this maybe a result of leishmanaisis carried by the mother. The mother and one blind brother disappeared into the countryside never to return. We have Midnight and the remaining male Patch (who is blind during the day) as our companions. We will have Patch tested very soon although he does not show signs of the disease we worry that it may be dormant. The dogs are constant companions, together since birth, we hope all goes well with the treatment. We worry how Patch will react/manage if his sister/playmate is no longer with him.

Flor: Hi everybody! I lost my dog on Friday to these awful desease. I live in argentina, in a province located in the northeast region, last year or so, we were informed of many cases of canine Leishmaniasis in our city, there were even cases of leishmaniasis in humans, so we were all advice to start taking good care of our dogs. By the summer we bought our dog, a lovely 9 year old Cocker Spaniel named Sol (sun in english), the scalibor collar, which was said to be “the only way to protect them form Leish”, and she kept it on sinche then. As we were told that it lasted only 6 months we bought a new one a few months ago, to replace the old one by spring, the thing is on wednesday she stopped eating, and slowly stopped drinking water too, she was tired and sad, she has always been a bubbly dog, very active and joyful, I noticed she had a hard time jumping and she was losing some weight so my dad took her to the vet on thursday, they did all the blood tests, gave her some meds and told us she could have a uterus problem or a kidney infection, but we have to wait till friday to get the final results of the test. We thought ok, is not that bad apparently so we just moved on, waiting for the results. On friday I went to college and got back home by lunch time, when I got up the stairs I saw my mother with her hand covering her mouth and a sad look in her eyes, my heart jumped as I inmediatedly realized it was about Sol, but I’d never imagine she would tell me “Sol has leishmaniasis” at first I couldn’t believe it, why her?? she had the goddamn collar! then tears of anger and sadness started flowing, I asked her what was going to happend, she told me the vet said we had to go and talk with him about the options (treatment or euthanasia). Then my youger brothers and my father arrived and we talked about it, they said she was too weak to go through treatment, she wasn’t breathing propperly in the morning, and she could barely move :( but we decided we will hear what the vet had to say before making a decision. That afternoon I did a little research on the treatments, which I thought didn’t exist. At six we went to see the vet, he told us that the bug had affected her kidneys really badly, she had only 30% of one of them working, so the treatment wouldn’t do much help. We came back to her, and spend the rest of the afternoon carressing her, she was so weak, it was devastating to see her like that, her eyes were pleading for something we couldn’t read, she kept changing positions all the time (the vet told us later that she was gasping for air to breath) I even tried to give her some water with a syringe but she didn’t take it, she was only focusing on breathing so it was impossible for her to swallow water, it was awful, the most heartbreaking part was seing her welcoming us everytime we showed up, and slowly moving her tail as she was so weak. We decided putting her down was the best for her, and at 9 we went to the vet, the walk to the place was awful, but we wanted to be with her so that she wouldn’t feel alone, when they put her the medicine, she slowly layed donde, finally relaxing, and from one moment to the other she stopped breathing, my heart broke, sitting here right now bring tears to my eyes once again. We then carried her limp body home and buried her in our backyard, I’ve been crying non stop since I found out what she had, I keep asking myself why her?? And now reading all these stories about dogs who went to treatment and made it makes me ask myself if we did make the right choice?? What it she took the treatment? She could still be with us? I just missed her so badly, we loved her so much! Hope you can help me get through this, I would appreciate it. Ps. Sorry for my english

Lesley: It is really sad that so many of these loved dogs have to suffer. The problem appears to be that this disease can affect the dogs systems for a long time before if manifests the recognisable symptoms. Midnight has started a course of treatment, daily alopurinol tablets for 6 months and an oral dose of milteforan for 28 days. Her kidney function and other vital organs seem to be ok at the moment. The disease has affected her skin, hair and nails. She has lost a lot of weight and was drinking plenty of water. We worried she may be diabetic, but she is ok it was the L disease causing the symptoms. We are hoping the treatment is successful of course, but are aware that we must keep up regular treatments of advantix to keep the sandfly at bay. We will regularly add plain boiled rice and pasta mixed with tuna in oil with her normal food, to help boast her appetite and improve her skin and fur. Has anyone got any alternative remedies/ medicines/ diet that may help these animals combat this disease,

Jim & Denise Devlin: We took a rescue dog home , because we thought he was starving to death in the Dog Pound . We were sent to the Vets as a matter of course . He diagnosed Lieshmania . We are from UK , and had never heard of such a disease . He was placed on a 10day course of injections , into his muscles . These became very painful for him , and his condition , at the end of the course , was very poor . He is now having a 15 day respite , from his treatment , but I cannot see what will become of him . Last night , we thought he would” pass away “ in his sleep . But today he is still with us , in a very weak state . Not eating very well , and lying with laboured breathing , and a muscular twitch in his back legs . We are devastated by the effects of this disease on such a lovely dog ( He is a Brittany Spaniel ) and very concerned about the prospects for our own dog , who is also a Brittany . He is having injections to prevent the spread of the disease . Fingers crossed that things improve over the next few days .

Lydia: My vet has mentioned to me that there is a laboratory in Madrid that is making individual vacines for dogs and has a 30% success rate of clearing the disease. The vet will take lymph from the back leg area, send it away and then the lab makes a 2 dose vacine. It costs about 400€. Has anyone heard about this or tried it. I am seriously contemplating it as it might be worth it?! My heart bleeds for both owners and infected dogs. It is a cruel disease. I have 2 dogs and the smaller dog who is more of a house dog has had L. for one and a half years. It is mainly cutaneous and he can go for weeks without any lessions and then suddenly he wil be covered in large weeping sores that spread outwards like ‘ringworm’. His tail is almost bald now after being covered in sores but so far, he has not had any nose bleeds or other problems that other people are describing here. He is on 1 and a half tablets of Alopurinol a day and occasional antihistermine for the itching or antibiotics. He had the Milteforan at the beginning when his blood count was off the scale. My other dog mainly lives outside and has now been vacinated against L. so I pray it works.

Andrea: Hi Flor, I am your neighbor as I live in Bolivia. I’m sorry to hear about Sol (Solecito). We have an “adopted” dog we call Vampy (vampirito because he has huge ears like a bat). I say “adopted” because we have a house away from the city and there, our neighbor has 3 dogs which are completely neglected. The person whom takes care of the house barely feeds them and keeps them chained most of the time. When they are not chained, they go to the town looking for anything to eat. Whenever we travel there, the dogs come running to us and stay outside of our house during our stay. During our stay we cook large pots of food for them and feed them 2-3 meals daily. We are happy to give them the food and love they dont receive from their owner. They are such good dogs, specially Vampy. It is sad because when we leave to come back to the city, they chase our car barking, running as fast as they can until they get tired, like asking us not to leave. The thing about Vampy is that he is in such a bad shape that today we asked the vet in town to come and see him again (every time we go we call the vet to come over and heal Vampy and the other dogs if they need it) and the vet said he has Lieshmania and that it will be hard for him to heal, that the best would be to put him down. Vampy does not belong to us but we love him as if he was a member of our family… we dont know if to have him put to sleep or steal him and take him to the city with us and see if he can be treated. Vampy is used to the country and having space whereas we dont have the room he needs, our yard is small and Vampy is a large dog. We dont know what to do, which desicion to make as he is not ours… his owner should be looking after him but he only has us. We dont want him to suffer. So I understand how you feel Flor, the desperation of seeing your beloved doggie sick and the pain of looking in to those eyes that are crying out for help and not knowing which is the best desicion or what to do. My heart goes out to Vampy, Sol, and all the doggies whom had to part due to, or are fighting this awful desease. May God bless their hearts and the hearts of their human families whom lost their beloved four legged friends and those whom are fighting to save their lives and do all that is in their hands to give them comfort, love and support.

jan white: Hi, Our dog, Charlie was diagnosed with Leishmaniosis three weeks ago. He had no signs or symptons, we had taken him for his Rabies booster when the vets noticed a small scabby area on the tip of both ears and immediately said that he needed to be tested, which was positive and they said that his liver and kidneys are fine. They gave him an injection 7.5ml of Glucantime, which he is having for fourty days - 20 injections in all (every other day) and he is having three 300mg Alopurinol tablets a day - he will be on these for life. He went for a midway visit last night and they are pleased with him although he still has the scabs on his ears, and he has put on a kilo. Our other two dogs are fine, what Is worrying is that Charlie had no symptons, he wore his scalibor collar, has boundless energy and eats well. I didn’t realise about a low protein diet, so will check his food (they are on Ultima) we feel worse about giving him the injections, but they have to be done and I hope that he won’t have to have another course for a good while. Since Charlie has been diagnosedI have been told that they are two types of Leishmaniosis, one affects the internal organs and the other the skin - has anyone else been told this? Our vets are very good and supportive and we have faith in them, but it is an awful disease with so many unanswered questions.

Helen: My dog has started the treatment yesterday and today she can hardly walk. Is this to be expected?

Kate: I’ve recently rescued an abandoned young Podenco in Andalucía. He has little scabs in his ears, which i think means he’s infected. I want to try treating him homeopathically http://www.ainsworths.com/index.php?node=_RemedyStore2&_action=agent.add&remedy=22032 as I think this is usually best and of course it has no bad side-effects. I don’t know whether anyone else here has tried homeopathy for this disease. Un fortunately, he’s due to go to a rehoming centre in the U.K.,as I’m too ill to keep him myself, but this may delay or prevent it.

joanna: Our dog Rusty an irish red setter, has just been diagnosed wilth leish today - i noticed in the last few days that he has dry sore skin patches so took him today to our vet - she took a blood test and some skin from the dry spots - we waited for the blood result - which she showed us as being posative. She then took another test to check his kidnneys etc. She rang us to confirm that his kidneys are fine. So tomorrow we take him fo his firdt injection and he will start his tretment therafter. We are so upset because we have just lost Sooby who we rescued from the road. he was a cocker spaniel ho we believe had been kept tie up and no room to move as he also had bad hips. We had Scooby for 18months and the leish had taken a hold on him - we pray that Rusty who is 5yrs old can be treated and live a happy life. I will keep you poste - thanks for this wonderfull site - it is so helpfull.

Ann Stone: Our BIG dog Otto, came to us about 5 years ago. He’s about 9 now. He belonged to friends in Spain, who got him from a rescue centre there. They moved house & had less suitable space for such a big dog. so we said we would take him - we live on a farm. They got his passport & drove him to England. Some months ago he began to get ill - itchy skin & panda eyes & a bit lethargic, also lost weight. Went to the vet. Couldn’t pin point anything. Put him on steroids, he perked up & he’s been OK. We knew this was not an ideal situation but at least he was a bit happier in is old age. in October went to stay with different English friends. A little sick stray dog arrived. Off we all go to the vets. It’s got Leich & I realise Otto has too! Back in England I told our vet my idea . Vet researched & did more tests & YES he has it. Taken 5 weeks to get medication. Now had injections for a week & is really ill. Nosebleeds! I don’t know what will happen but at the moment I’m wondering if we should have just left him on the steroids to see out his life quietly & in relative happiness. Husband at vet with him now. Vet been super - taken an interest. We do our own injections. Dog, so far, doesn’t mind them, but he is BIG.

Chiara: The injections killed my previous dog while we had many dogs treated with allopurinol only and they lived happily for many years despite leishmaniasis. I have just found out that my current dog I brought over to the UK from Italy has it too. The result the vet gave me is 68. Does anyone know how high or low this is? I am not sure how they count the antibodies in the UK… My vet in Italy was a bit puzzled by this number…

Sasha: Hi, I am moving to Spain in May 2013 (Alicante region) and have been researching ‘L’ . It seems to be alot more of a real problem that I thought, My vet has told me there is a vaccination at a cost of £144 per dog, but he knows nothing about it apart from the fact it is a course of 3 jabs. Does anyone know any more? does it work? How ill does it make them, one of my dogs is a chihuahua (6yrs) and the other is a mini Lurcher (5yrs) (whippet size). I am even wondering whether it is worth the risk to take my babies to Spain at all now…very worried…

Chiara: I know there is a vaccine and it is very effective on healthy dogs. I discussed this with my vet in Italy where Leishmaniasis is a too common disease among dogs. In Italy it is available since last April. My vet said that the dogs need to have blood tests first to make sure they can be vaccinated. They need to meet certain paramethers… I am not sure what he meant by that. Leishmaniasis is an orrible illness. I would definetely consider the vaccine if I moved to Spain.

Karon Stephens: I would like to hear a update from a previous comment on here from….. “ Kierst” Posted July 7th 2012 …I am adopting a little dog of 6 with Leishmania , I am at present researching & looking into her health care with my vets to make sure everything health wise is in place for her….I have a homeopath vet that has cared for a Leishmania dog previously , & i’m very confident with him….But i have concerns with the mainstream vet & lack of knowledge of Leishmania & therefor I’m researching the prescription med’s , so that i know she gets the right prescription…I’m in UK in Warwickshire .

valerieshevills: Thanks for the information, it is very helpfull, i am about to jab my dog for the first time, i have had the jabs for a week, and have been thinking about doing it, i cant face the thought of him being so ill, but if i dont try, i will never know if it worked or not. val

linda: I am currently treating my 12 year old pointer cross with Mitalforan which I administer via syringe either on to his food or when he isn´t keen on eating I give it straight into his mouth. He has suffered from this horrible disease for almost seven years. I have treated him with Apurinol and mainly normal dog food and occasionaly he has needed special treatment and diet for kidney malfunction. He has always had a shiny black coat and been very lively. However at the end of January I realised he was unwell and blood tests revealed high leishmania levels and kidney malfunction. I bought the special renal diet “pienso” and the Mitalforan which for his size was pricey (200 euros). He is now much happier but has gone off his special renal diet , I am still giving him the apurinol, plus vitamin tablets and Rubenol which helps the kidneys to function. Next week he will go to the vet for another blood test to see the state of his kidneys.. I am currently feeding him tinned tuna mixed with a very little renal “pienso” and have also given him hake (merluza) which I fry using hardly any oil. The pills go straight into his throat as he won´t take them any other way due to his loss of apetite. Just wish I could discover a suitable homemade diet for him. Any suggestions or advice greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

Karon: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/low-purine-foods-for-dogs.html ….there’s a group on FB “ Living with Leishmania “ …Have now two vets experienced with Leishmania ( in UK) Happy dance my girl has great support :) She will be Holistic & homeopath as well as conventional meds , my other dogs & cats are Holistic/homeopath …Have a look at that option Linda

kierst: Hi the facebook group is called Living with Leish :)

Karon: Hi Kierst, this is my FB address…I am named as Karon Daisy Charlie …Edit Contact Info Email karon.stephens.5@facebook.com I can’t find that group, :( …& would be very interested to join.

joanna: Just to let you know Rusty is doing fine so far - he is now on his 2nd session of medicine (leisgaurd - contains - domperidona) which he takes by mouth - he has that for 30 days then has 40 days with nothing - he started the 2nd course a week ago. My vet says she wants him to have this course then another before she does another blood test. Once he has had his blood test and if he remains as he is - she says we may be able to let him have the preventative injection and hopefully he will only have to have the booster once yearly - but that is in the future. To date Rusty has re-acted well and is back to his normal happy self, we are so relieved - because after already losing Scooby to this horrible disease - we were so worried we would lose Rusty - but so far so good. Kind Regards joanna

lucy: The stories on here are so sad and it is awful to hear how much pain the dogs and owners went through. The vaccine thankfully is now available. There are 3 injections given 3 weeks apart and immunity starts from 4 weeks after the last injection. My dog is going to the vet later today to have the first vaccine. Each vaccine costs approx. €80. We will be living in Cyprus in the winter and the island has very high levels of this disease.

Christine Gifford: I have spent this morning reading all the really useful posts here; we found a dog which we thought was starving and frightening the chilren in the square in our small pueblo in southern spain a week ago. Having brought him home initially he ate very well but we still wanted him checked out before we allowed him to mix with our other dogs ( Mr Darcy an old staffie we rescued at 14 weeks with a bad back but who is now 11; a mixto called Pablo the Asbo who we found out was deaf after we rescued him from outside the local hypermarket and the lovely lady Leah who was left for dead in the street and lost all her puppies having been beaten but who is now ‘elegante’.) He was covered in ticks so we had them treated and blood tests done at the same time. These came back yesterday -kidneys, liver all fine but a very high reading for Leishmaniasis. He will be starting the injections on Wednesday and then have the tablets. Luckily our other dogs all wear collars which we renewed before we let them mix with him and have also had advantix and vacinations but we will have them blood tested this week just to make sure they are ok. His new name - not surprising no chip, no collar, - will make those of you are English laugh - George (Alexander Louis)! Will keep you posted on how he gets on……………..

Laura smith: Enzo Hi, Having read the numerous information and postings on your page, I am looking for some advice relating to the ongoing treatment for my dog, Enzo, a gorgeous little 7kg Heinz 57. I rescued Enzo last year from Spain, and he was abandoned, presumably because his owner knew he had leishmaniasis but could not afford to pay for the treatment. The vet immediately put him on a 30-day course of Glucantime and despite him not liking the injections, it really helped his mobility and general state of health. When he came to live with us in the UK, we were advised to put him on a 200mg daily dosage of Allupurinol and wait for a blood test 6 months later to determine what medication and treatment he would need in the future. During this time he continued to improve and you would not know that he had leish. We travelled to Spain with Enzo this summer, and immediately had a blood test which showed his titre had reduced from 1/1260 to 1/340 and the vet was amazed at how good he looked, so much so that she advised to take a 1 month break on the Allopurinol and then restart it at a lower dose of 100mg per day. Unfortunately during the rest period (June this year) Enzo became ill and on one weekend he was admitted to an emergency hospital where they found crystals in his urine and a kidney stone formed. The stone has managed to damage his bladder, causing urine to get into his bloodstream and toxicate parts of his body, so we had a really anxious (and very expensive) 9 days where he was in intensive care whilst we waited for him to recover from his operation and for his blood to get rid of the toxins. Fortunately, he made a good recovery and we were able to travel back with Enzo in late July, and the stone removed from his bladder was apparently sent to a university in America where they confirmed it was directly related to him being on Allopurinol. I have now been advised not to give him Allopurinol, and to try a ‘one month on, three months off’ course of Leishguard, although this doesn’t seem to really agree with him, and seems to make him itch and scratch. I am now in a position where I am hearing and reading conflicting information regarding Enzo’s dietary requirements and frequency of blood, titre and urine tests, and would very much appreciate your feedback on this, aswell as your advice on what course of medication to give him for his leish. I am in a position where I obviously do not want to put him back on Allopurinol if it will cause another stone or crystals, but likewise, I would hate for the leish to come back. Enzo’s is currently eating Virbac Renal food, which was advised by the vet in Spain, but I have also been told that dry foods like this are not best, and that I should perhaps look at switching to a raw or BARF diet? Thanks.

Jane bailey: We have. Rescue GSD cross Lurcher. Big dog 34 kg. from Spain now in the uk with Leish. She is on alurinol tablets two daily and is in good condition. She was spayed six weeks ago and bled profusely, but seemed to be doing fine. Wound healed, eating an enjoying life, yezterdaymthemwound opened for no reason and she now needs to have further surgery. Can anyone offer advice or even a reason why this has happened. Our UK vet doesn’t seem to know why this happened and I am losing confidence in their diagnostic skills.

kierst: Hi Jane I tried to email you back but the email address is incorrect. Im sorry to hear about your troubles with your dog. I don’t know if you are on Facebook but if so there is a group called Living with Leish https://www.facebook.com/groups/447077055372021/ They are a great group with people whose dogs are living with leish, it would be a good idea to to put your question to them. I am unable to help you as I have no knowledge of why this would happen to her. If you are not on Facebook I can ask the question for you. Please keep me posted and I have everything crossed for your girl.

Michaela Hubbard: My dog Sundance is on Allopurinol, He aslo had stones a year after being on this medication. The dog need to be on a low purine diet and this will stop the stones forming. We feed ours Royal canine Low Purine U/C and he has been fine since

elaine: hey Laura Smith! If Enzo is passing crystals get him off the kibble immediately! A species appropriate food - Raw meaty bones/Barf (it doesn’t matter what you call it) and a little liquidised raw veg and if you can find it green tripe (Panse verde in spanish) will help his immune system to fight the leish AND stop any more crystals forming. and get him to drink cold stinging nettle tea - also to boost his immune system Good luck and God bless!

Laura smith: Hi all. After an extremely frustrating visit to the vets today, I am wondering if any members of this forum can recommend a vet in Essex or Suffolk who have experience of Leish dogs. Fortunately my dog Enzo is doing really well despite having a high titre count when we rescued him in Spain two years ago and having had an operation to remove kidney stones last summer which was caused by Allopurinol. Enzo has beaten the odds and for now we are just managing his leish with Leishguard but we want to get a full blood test to monitor his titre and haematology and compare it to the previous tests we had done in Spain. Our current vet is completely useless and reluctant to get involved in something he doesn’t understand so I would like to have a relationship with a practise who at least sympathise with Leish dogs and have a basic knowledge of the condition, so all suggestions are gratefully received. Ps thanks Elaine for your previous reply

kierst: This is a message from Joanna Wooldridge Hi - I have written to you in the past about Rusty our Red Setter who has Leish. He is on Leishgaurd and has been ok until reccentley he as started to bite his front pads and he is tearing lumps out and making them bleed - has anyone else had this problem???? Thanks for your help We are desperate to stop him doing it - curently have them bandadged to stop him from biting them!!!

Laura smith: Hi all. I am hoping for some advice relating to Leish titer tests here in the UK. Up until now we have always had our tests done in Spain, where the titer is presented as a fractional figure such as 1/320 with a base line figure of 1/80 where anything under that is deemed negative. I understand that this is a ‘dilution’ based result. I have just had a test done in the UK and the results have been presented to me as ‘29.8’ and I have no idea how to convert or understand this figure and after speaking to a few vets I am still struggling. Apparently the base line for this way of testing is 12, but I am hoping someone will have some more information or a better understanding of the way the result has been presented. Has anyone had a test done in the UK where the result is provided as a fraction or know if the figure of 29.8 is good, bad or ugly! Thank you all in advance.

Chris: Hi all, There is so much disinformation on this illness it pains me to read posts from anxious owners or (frankly) completely wrong “specialist” advice. I have been to hell and back with my dog who I saved as a stray from Italy. She had already been infected as a young dog, some 6-7 years ago. I have a quite incredible vet and we have been learning as we go, assisted by the specialists in this disease within the uk, Bristol university. If you have a dog which is diagnosed with this disease, it is essential that you get the right advice. If you do not, your loved animal will die. The things we have learned about this condition in the many years we have been fighting it are too many to write in one post. If you are worried for a pet please do contact me on gallagher2006@btinternet.com. Almost all vets have no experience of this and I can ensure that your vet has my vets number to speak to. A couple of points to note: 1. The disease is treatable but it is extremely expensive to do so. The treatment either involves the injection of glucantime (much preferred option) or the ingestion of another poison which I would strongly advise you avoid (the name of which I forget). The latter option was extremely toxic to my dogs liver and almost killed her but looked like it was working because she improved clinically before a massive collapse and liver failure. Glucantime is very safe though I would advise taking liver readings through blood tests after a week. I would also advise running the course for at least four and maybe even six weeks 2. Keep a thermometer handy and check your dog regularly. LM causes serious temperature increases which will kill your dog if you miss the signs. I used 2.5mg morning and night of predisonol as hers climbed up between treatments and when it was needed daily it was time to treat her again with glucantime. Long term steroids create a huge number of other problems you should review with a vet. Without them though, my dog would have died I could go on but won’t for now. I’ve spoken to dozens of vets and all said “we had an LM dog once but it didn’t live long”. To date, mine has been alive for 7 years since contracting it and 4.5 years since it was diagnosed and she was close to death. Her liver readings were 3580 against a 120 upper tier of normal. Your pet can survive but it’s essential that you know how to treat it. Few vets will know the answers since they aren’t trained on it here, something echoed in these posts. Chris

vic: If you are using allopurinol - consistently add apple cider vinegar to the dogs water - No stones, perfect kidney function.

Jo Diaper: Thanks for all the advice. Will definitely try the Apple cider vinegar Vic. My poor boy, Frodo has just come back from the vets after having another flush out of his bladder because of crystals. He’s a lovely 6 year old basset. He came from Spain too and was eventually diagnosed with Leish 3 years ago. Thankfully our vets in Salisbury emergency service has a Spanish vet which has been invaluable in treating him. He had the miltefosine initially and did well and whilst he is still currently reasonably well his tests have shown the leish is on its way back. We’re now awaiting the injections be imported from Spain and hoping this gives him another few good years. He takes allupurinol daily and eats low purine food. Any other recommendations gratefully appreciated. Jo

Andrew: Hello all, We have recently learned that our 5-year-old pug boy has tested positive for leish. We are based in Germany and rescued him 3 months ago from Malta, so we knew all about the associated risks, but it’s still not nice to hear. He hasn’t shown any symptoms since he’s been with us, though when he arrived he did have terrible diarrhoea, little hunger and was very tired. He also had a scar on his side which the shelter said was a bit from another dog, but looked more like a healing skin sore. He was also very disinterested. He soon recovered well with rest and good eating habits, but we were wondering if this could possibly have a manifestation of the disease? At the time we thought it was due to the trauma of being found in the street, flown to Germany and settling into a new home, but now I have read more it seems he was exhibiting symptoms. He had no medication though, so I don’t believe he would have fought it off and recovered so quickly without. Is there anyway of discovering whether a dog has previously had an ‘outbreak’ of symptoms and if so, when? Is there also a way of finding out when the disease was contracted and therefore when to expect to see symptoms develop? It would be a huge help for us to have an idea of these things. Otherwise, I presume the only thing we can do is take him regularly to the vet for blood/urine tests, monitor his behaviour and renal activity for signs and then treat as appropriate. From your experience, are there any ‘sure fire’ early signs to look out for, and how vital is it to get treatment started early? All help is of course very much appreciated. Cheers.

Melissa B.: Our dog was rescued from Afghanistan back in Sept. 2012, he was very skinny when we got him home (58-lbs) but otherwise healthy. It wasn’t until April 2013 that he started getting white spots around his eyes, mouth & on his nose. We took him to the vet did some initial blood work & found he had a bacterial infection & later the other test came back positive for Leish. He was started on Allopurinol & then we were able to get Milteforan from spain (from: www.wilderstore.com)to treat him. He was on the Milteforan for about 16 wks then retested & we believed we were in remission. Only for the Leish to come back in full swing some 5-6 months later. He never showed any signs that he was sick again. He continues to be on the Allopurinol 650 mg a day, Inteliflora, K-9 Immunity (by Aloha Medicinal) once a day and is on a NO ANIMAL PROTEIN diet, Hill’s prescription U/D diet, I also put 1/2 tsp coconut oil in w/ his food. He is also given veggie cheese, tofu, & veggie hotdogs as his treats. His last Titer check was 3 wks ago & his numbers for the Leish is 256, so its still present & we will continue the same treatment plan that we are on for now. I’d like to try the Glucantime but our vet says we would need enough for about 17 wks. And as of now we can’t seem to get our hands on any as its not available in the U.S. With what we are doing he is staying healthy, he’s happy, very active, but a very picky eater. He now weighs 77 lbs & strong as an ox. He wants the animal protein, but w/ the Allopurinol he is on it puts crystals in his urine. I did read above in another post that adding Apple cider vinegar into his drinking water, could anyone suggest the amount they are adding of the vinegar to the amount of water please?! The K-9 Immunity I buy on Amazon for a tad bit cheaper than I can get it from the company that makes it, & the Hills Prescription u/d diet I buy through www.chewy.com for $75 for a 27.5 lbs bag. Again cheaper than what I can buy at our local petsmart. I hope any of the info helps & you are able to help your fur-babie’s live a happy & healthy life.

Pat Hatton: Can I take my dog Micky from this country to Spain, he has just been diagnosed with Leichmane iosis. His earflaps have now become sore andbleeding, is this part of the condition..

Mary: My dog had the leish vaccine but still went on to contract the desease

Allison: Hi. Milteforan is the drug of choice as the initial treatment protocol given at a weight specific dose for 28dys. Allopurinol is used to support kidney function but it helps sny dog who has developed joint issues from the disease. Please be aware that it can cause liver function tests to show elevated levels and to damage the liver in some individual dogs. We have had many large dogs on allopurinol ie 25kg plus and they take no more than 300mg once a day. Smaller dogs on a dose this high do appear to have elevated levels check with your vet on this as after the time and effort you put in to save your loved pets you dont want to lose them to a drug they may no longer need to take.

Orhan: I want to ask how you give the ivomec to your dog because its been given just once for prophylaxis of parasitic disease is that the way you take it for treating leishmenia or how you give it t o your dog may be twice monthly my dog is too ill and would try that way because the other medications didnt work for him

Cecilia: I am in the process of rescueing a dog from Spain that is currently in a shelter. She is due to come to UK in July this year. After reading all these posts I have decided not to adopt her. I don’t make this decision lightly, as I fell in love with her online and have been looking at her photos every day for the past month and really looking forward to having her. However, it has been hard to get information from the UK charity that is arranging her adoption and it has not given me confidence. I don’t know what shelter she is coming from even, and in the last photos I had of her, her coat looked dull compared to in the originals. I asked that she be retested for Leishmania before travelling to UK and for her vet history to be faxed to my vet. I received a text just saying she would be retested. I have done a huge amount of research online since agreeing to adopt and my first action was to get her insured to cover treatment just in case. Now I have discovered that UK insurance policies don’t cover Leishmania. It is in the exclusion section as a notifiable disease. There is no way that I could afford the bills for her treatment if at any time she tested positive, which it seems almost certain that she will as she is only a year old and was rescued from the streets at 6 months. Young dogs and very short coated dogs , which she is, are apparently more susceptible, as are older dogs and sick and starved dogs and it is likely she was also pretty starved though I have not been able to get this information. I really wanted to give her a good home and I do so hope she finds one. Thank you all for the stories you have posted and although it is now 2018, as far as I can tell, very little progress has been made in respect of treatment and diagnosis of this horrible condition. Also new research has indicated that it can be transmitted to a dog by a bitch it has mated with and also passed on to puppies. It will be transmitted through blood transfusion and there is a possibility that fleas can also be a vector. I don’t want to be a scaremonger but reality is reality and it is best to be safe rather than sorry. They say that dog to dog transmitting is rare but it is a possibility. Also the Leish organisms live in open sores and care should be taken by people who have low immunity and also very young children. If your other dogs have cuts or open sores, transmission can take place. So much more research is needed. It seems that as a species we often tend to try and shut the stable door after the horse has bolted! Good luck to you all and to all your beautiful dogs who suffer and have suffered so much.

Kiersten Rowland: Hi I’m sorry you are not going through with the adoption of the dog you fell in love with. Maybe joining this group on Facebook will help you Living With Leish The information about the transmission of this disease that you write about is not correct and it is this incorrect information that is out there on the internet that does not help dogs with leish. This post is very old now and treatment has moved on to a whole new level. Diagnosis is very simple. There has been a vaccine for many years, but if your dog is leish free and living in the UK, it won’t need the vaccine. Don’t give up hope on the dog you love, it sounds like the contact you have at the shelter is really the problem. Such a shame that the dog will lose out because of the contact. Good luck to you and your search for a dog.

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