Main content area

Current status on prevention and treatment of canine leishmaniasis

Reguera, Rosa M., Morán, Miguel, Pérez-Pertejo, Yolanda, García-Estrada, Carlos, Balaña-Fouce, Rafael
Veterinary parasitology 2016 v.227 pp. 98-114
Leishmania donovani, Leishmania infantum, Phlebotominae, allopurinol, collars, combination drug therapy, death, dog diseases, dogs, humans, immunostimulants, immunotherapy, insecticides, leishmaniasis, new drugs, parasites, vaccines, wild animals, zoonoses
Canine leishmaniasis (CanL) is a parasite-borne disease mainly induced by Leishmania infantum in the Old World and Leishmania chagasi (infantum) in the New World. CanL is a zoonosis transmitted by the bite of infected Phlebotominae flies that act as vectors. CanL is a very serious disease that usually produces death when remains untreated and can be a focus of transmission to other dogs or humans. Infected dogs and other domestic and wild animals act as reservoirs and are a real threat to uninfected/healthy dogs and humans in endemic areas where the sand flies are present. Prevention of new infections in dogs can help to stop the current increase of the disease in humans, reinforcing the concept of “One Health” approach. The management of CanL is being performed using prophylactic measures in healthy dogs – insecticides impregnated in collars or immunostimulants applied by spot-on devices – and chemotherapy in animals that suffer from the disease. Antimonials as first-line monotherapy have proven efficacy in reducing most of the clinical signs of CanL, but they need to be administered during several days, and no complete parasite clearance is achieved, favouring the presence of relapses among treated dogs. Therefore, new drugs, such as miltefosine, or combinations of this drug or antimonials with allopurinol are in the pipeline of clinical treatment of CanL. Recently, there has been an emergence of protective – prophylactic – and curative – autogenous vaccines – immunotherapy tools to face CanL, whose results are still under study. This review highlights the current use of preventive and eradicative weapons to fight against this disease, which is a scourge for dogs and a continuous threat to human beings.