Canine Calazar (Visceral Leishmaniasis): Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Visceral leishmaniasis, also known as Calazar, is a troubling disease in Brazil. This disease is caused by a protozoan and can affect both dogs, humans and other animals. Because it is a zoonosis, that is, it can be transmitted from animals to humans, it is a very worrying disease.

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This disease is spread almost everywhere in the world. Only in Latin America has it been identified in more than 14 countries and 90% of cases occur in Brazil.

Because it is a very worrying epidemiological disease in Brazil, YourCatCareguide has prepared this article so that you know everything about Calazar or Visceral Leishmaniasis: Symptoms, causes and treatment. Keep reading!

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Calazar in a dog

Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by a protozoan of the genus Leishmania. The transmission of this protozoan occurs through a bite by a vector insect, that is, an insect that carries this protozoan with it and when it stings the dog, man or other animal, deposits this protozoan and infects with the disease. These insects are called sand flies and there are more than 30 different species of them.

The animals or people who are bitten by these insects become the so-called reservoirs of the disease. An animal or person can be bitten and carry the disease even without clinical signs. However, whenever an insect we refer to stings a dog or other animal, it becomes a potential transmitter of the disease.

In urban centers, the main reservoir of the disease are the dogs. In the wild, the main reservoirs are foxes and marsupials.

In the dog, the main mosquito transmitter of this disease belongs to the genus Lutzomyia longipalpis , is also called the straw mosquito .

What is calazar?

Canine karazar or visceral leishmaniasis is one of two forms of leishmaniasis in the dog. In addition to this, there is cutaneous or muco-cutaneous leishmaniasis. This disease can affect any dog, regardless of age, race or gender.

Symptoms of calazar in dog

About 50% of the dogs with visceral leishmaniasis do not present clinical signs and it is possible that they live their entire life without presenting signs, being only carriers of the disease.

Clinical signs may be dermatological only, but it is considered visceral because the parasites spread throughout the body even before the first dermatological signs appear. Everything begins with the bite of the insect and a lump called leishmanioma forms. This lump almost always goes unnoticed because it is too small. Then the whole process expands through the body of the dog and the processes of skin ulceration and even necrosis begin to appear.

First symptoms of calazar in dog:

In short, the first symptoms of dog calazar are:

  • Alopecia (regions without hairs)
  • Depigmentation of hair (lose color)
  • Skin peeling, especially of the nose
  • Ulcers on the skin (ears, tail, muzzle)

Advanced symptoms of canine visceral leishmaniasis:

More advanced stages of the disease, the dog may present other symptoms of calazar such as:

  • Dermatites
  • Spleen problems
  • Conjunctivitis and other eye problems
  • Apathy
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal bleeding
  • Vomiting

Symptoms in the final stage of the disease kalazar in dog:

In the final stage, when the dog is in the last state of canine visceral leishmaniasis, it may present symptoms such as:

  • Cachexia
  • Paresis of hind legs
  • Starvation
  • Death

Calazar on a dog passes for humans?

Yes, unfortunately this disease can be transmitted to humans , as we have already mentioned. It is not transmitted directly from the dog to the humans, but through an insect that stings an infected dog and then it stings the human being and thus transmits the disease. This disease can be lethal, especially in malnourished children or in immunocompromised individuals, such as people with HIV.

As we have already mentioned, any dog ​​or other animal can be a carrier of this disease and not know because it has no symptoms. The important thing is that your dog is protectedfrom insect bites, as we will explain later.

Some studies state that not only sandfly insects can transmit the disease, but also other parasites such as fleas and ticks. There is also the possibility of being transmitted via placenta from mother to child and via venereal.

Diagnosis of Calazar in a dog

To diagnose the Calazar disease in dogs or visceral canine leishmaniasis, the veterinarian is based on clinical signs and makes the definitive diagnosis through specific tests.

The test may be parasitological or serological, such as in human medicine. The parasitological examination consists of the collection of biological material through the puncture of a lymph node of the dog, the bone marrow, the spleen or directly the skin. Although they are simple and effective methods, they are invasive, which brings more risks to the animal.

Another possibility is the serological tests , such as indirect immunofluorescence or the Elisa test. These tests are especially useful in large groups of dogs, such as kennels and are recommended by the Ministry of Health.

Does Calazar have a cure for dogs?

Although we can not say that there is actually a cure, because the protozoan continues in the animal’s organism, we can say that there is a clinical cure . That is, the protozoan is in a state of latency, as if it were sleeping and can not multiply. In addition, parasitic burden is low both with treatment that the animal ceases to be a potential transmitter for other animals.

Calazar in dog – treatment

Recently, Milteforan was launched in Brazil , which was a great advance in Brazil! Finally there is a legalized treatment for canine visceral leishmaniasis. Until this moment there was no treatment for this disease in Brazil and thousands of animals were euthanized.

Until then, the treatment of calazar in dogs was a controversial subject and highly discussed in veterinary medicine in Brazil. Fortunately, with the advances of veterinary medicine and finally there was this legal option of treatment of the animals in Brazil, the prognosis improved significantly.

Vaccine calazar puppy

There is a vaccine for the prevention of kalazar disease in dogs. This vaccine was developed by the company Fort Dodge and is called Leishmune®.

Ask your veterinarian about the possibility of vaccinating your dog and the costs of the vaccine.

This article is purely informative, in we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest that you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.

If you want to read more articles similar to canine kala – azar (visceral leishmaniasis): Symptoms, causes and treatment , we recommend you to come into our section of infectious diseases .

    Emily Harris

    Hi Guys, Girls, and Cats:-pI am Emily Harris, and you can see in above pic. She loves me I swear. I saved her from a dumpster a few weeks back.

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