The summer holidays are about to start and many people look forward to spending them in southern Europe, e.g. the Mediterranean. Those who have a dog don’t want to leave it behind at home. However, there is an underestimated danger lurking: Sandflies, native to Southern Europe, can transmit parasites to dogs, for example Leishmania, which causes canine leishmaniasis in approximately 10% of cases.
The long incubation period is what’s most malicious in Leishmania infections. After transmission, years can pass before the first clinical symptoms occur. Until then, one might have already forgotten about the holiday. The wide range of possible symptoms complicates diagnosis: fever, anorexia, different skin disorders, ocular changes, different organic complaints, disorders of the musculoskeletal system and changes in the blood count can be observed.
Since prevention is better than cure, the four-legged friend should be vaccinated before any trip to regions where leishmaniasis has been reported. It is also recommended to use suitable repellents to protect both owner and dog from mosquito bites.
If you adopt a dog from southern Europe, it is advisable to take the new family member to the vet and have it examined as soon as possible, since 50 to 80% of dogs in these countries are infected with Leishmania.
In suspected cases of canine leishmaniasis, the finding can be confirmed by serological tests: High antibody titers are associated with clinical leishmaniasis or signalise a possible outbreak of canine leishmaniasis. The EUROIMMUN Anti-Leishmania ELISA Dog (IgG) is available for this investigation. The test is based on a specific recombinant antigen of Leishmania and has a very high specificity (98%) and sensitivity (97%) (see table).
|n = 112||Pre-characterisation|
|EUROIMMUN Anti-Leishmania ELISA Dog (IgG)||positive||65||1|