Canine Leishmaniasis

If you live here with your dog, perhaps you have heard of canine Leishmaniasis. If not, then you should be aware that this disease, which is present in all countries of the Mediterranean Basin (as well as the States, Latin American and elsewhere in the world), and can infect up to 40% of dogs in endemic areas. It is thought that up to 10% of dogs in our region are infected.

This serious infection is transmitted by the bite of infected sand-flies and results in cutaneous (affecting the skin) and visceral (affecting organs) reactions. Many symptoms can be observed in untreated dogs, including: disease of the lymph nodes, emaciation, renal failure, neuralgia, diarrhoea, polyarthritis, nodular dermatitis and nose bleeding.

However, there are several ways to offer relatively efficient protection to your dog:

  1. Deltamethrin-impregnated collars (Scalibor® being the best-known), which slowly release an insecticide into the lipids of the dog’s skin, protecting the entire body. These last several months and have a relatively high protection rate
  2. Advantix® spot-on treatments, (to be used monthly)
  3. Leishmaniasis vaccine to strengthen the immune response before infection occurs. If you live on the Riviera, it is advisable to start the vaccinations now as the round of injections needs to be completed prior to the start of the sand-fly season in May and repeated annually.

Despite having “sand” in the name, the tiny sand-fly thrives mainly in gardens and grassy areas, not necessarily around water. It is most active around dawn and dusk poses a threat from May to October in this area. It is particularly dangerous towards the end of the summer, when there is a higher number of “old” flies, who have already had one or two blood meals and who may, therefore, have become infected.

At-risk zones in our area:

Wooded areas such as the Valmasque and the Etang de Fontmerle and inland areas; as opposed to coastal towns and parks.

For more risks to animal health on the French Riviera, see our page on Threats to Pet Animals in France.