|Information booklet on Leishmaniosis|
Before traveling with your dog, make sure that you have protected them against all potential risks to their health.
In some areas of Europe (particularly the Mediterranean), there is a preventable disease - Leishmaniosis - that is carried by sandflies. An infected sandfly can transmit the disease to dogs through biting.
There are two types of Leishmaniasis, caused by different species of sandfly: the visceral form that affects internal organs; and the cutaneous form that affects the skin and hair.
The most common early symptoms to look for are loss of appetite, intolerance to exercise, weakness and listlessness.
Most tick and flea collars (Scalibor, Advantix, Frontline etc.) and medicines, also repel sandflies. Check on the packaging or with your vet if you know you will be visiting a country where there is a risk of infection.
Sandflies are active during warmer seasons, so it is not always necessary for your dog to wear a collar, or to administer flea/sandfly protection, during the winter. However, from early spring onwards, make sure that your dog is protected, and replace collars/repeat applications regularly. Although most collars are water resistant, remove them if your dog is going for a swim or having a bath.
A friend of mine uses a chemical free insect repellent spray on her dog, in addition to the collar, when going out during the evening (when sandflies are most prevalent). She recommends Korres (citronella and myrtle) that is available from most pharmacies in Greece.
You can also try to avoid taking your dog outside from early evening until morning, when these insects are most active.
Finally, there is a vaccination against Leishmaniosis, although this has not proven to be 100% effective and needs further research. It is also quite expensive, and must be administered in doses over time. Do ask the opinion of your vet if you have any queries or concerns.
At present, there is no cure for Leishmaniosis, however the disease can be effectively managed with a simple therapy of drugs, and dogs can go on to lead normal lives.
Take your dog to the vet if you notice any unusual behaviour or symptoms, and if you have visited an area where there is a possible risk of Leithmaniosis, be sure to give this information to your vet.
Have a look at this informative Facebook page about the disease: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Canine-leishmaniasis/253815474643017