One of the questions we are most frequently asked is “Do I have to test my Spanish dog for Leishmania?” The answer, unfortunately, is no, you don’t have to. At this moment in time it is not a requirement for a dog that is being transported within the EU (inc to the UK) to be tested. That said we (www.alstrays.com/transport) will NOT transport a dog that hasn’t been Leishmania Tested. It is a difficult one to enforce as a passport doesn’t require a stamp and if we are told that the paperwork has already been sent to the new adoptant we have to rely on people telling the truth.
What is Leishmania
Known as the Mediterranean Disease because of it’s propensity to come from Spain and Portugal it is a condition brought on by the protozoan parasite Leishmania. Basically there are two types: a cutaneous (skin) reaction and a visceral (abdominal organ) reaction. The later is often known as Back Fever, and is the more severe form.
The infection is caught when sandflies transmit the flagellated parasites into the skin of a host dog, with the incubation period from infection to symptoms being anytime between one month to several years.
The main organ systems affected are the skin, kidneys, spleen, liver, eyes, and joints. It is generally accompanied by a skin reaction, with lesions on the skin, and hair loss.
Should I adopt a dog with Leishmania
Absolutely no reason not to! It is a very treatable disease if caught early and providing the the animal doesn’t have a weakened immune system.
Leishmania dogs can live happily and healthily for many years and generally require an easy and simple treatment of one tablet a day. Of course the treatment depends on the dog, the severity of the disease and how the dog responds to treatment.
The reason that all dogs should be tested is that a new adoptant needs to know as much as possible about the condition and history of the dog and the sooner the disease can be diagnosed the better the chance of a speedy recovery.
Unfortunately a lot of UK vets apparently caution against adoptant a Leishmania positive dog which is total rubbish. You only have to look around Spain to see happy and thriving Leishmania diagnosed dogs!