Leishmaniasis – protecting our dogs in Spain

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The warm spring temperatures will delight sunbathers, but other consequences are far less positive: the activity of phlebotominae (the mosquitos or sandflies which cause leishmaniasis) due to the high spring temperatures, mean we have to protect our dogs. The infection can be fatal in animals, and in rare cases can also be transmitted to human beings.

Normally the phlebotominae are most active in areas such as Valencia between May and October, with animals which sleep on the ground being those most at risk. The insect larvae are normally found in cracks in the walls, stables, gardens, basements, rubbish dumps and pools of stagnant water, and the risk is greatest at dawn and dusk.

There are numerous products on the market which are designed to avoid bites, vaccines are available and at the same time the regional college of vets insists on the efficiency of annual diagnostic tests, since death from leishmaniasis can be prevented with treatments if detected early enough.

Don’t buy cheap collars, the best on the market seem to be Scalibor or Seresto. I’ve gone for Seresto as it covers 8 months rather than 6 and it’s water proof. Either collar works out at approx 3 euros per month. It’s not worth the risk.

I’d also highly recommend keeping the pooches indoors dusk till dawn and buying an electric, mosquito zapper from the many Chinese shops around the areas.

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