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Why Not To Take Your Dog On Holiday To The Mediterranean - Leishmaniosis Could Kill Him

Updated on April 17, 2016
Image: Maggie Smith /
Image: Maggie Smith /

Have Dog Will Travel

With the introduction of the pet passport scheme many families coming to the Med for a holiday now think it´s a great idea to bring faithful old Fido too.


Canine Leishmaniosis is prevalent throughout the Mediterranean basin, northern Italy, and all countries with a continental climate.

Canine Leishmaniosis is transmitted by Sandfly bites, Is incurable and often fatal.

But I´m Not Going Near The Beach !

Makes no difference. Sandflys are everywhere.

I live 40k from the sea and both my dogs have it.

The disease can be transmitted from Sandfly to dog , from dog to dog, and also to humans.

Because there are now so many dogs carrying the disease it´s even more likely for your dog to become infected.

It only takes one bite from a sandfly to infect your faithful hound with a horrible incurable disease.

A dog with Visceral Leishmaniasis
A dog with Visceral Leishmaniasis | Source

Can I Protect My Dog From Getting Infected ?

A new vaccine has just been launched but it´s not 100% effective.

You also need to have your dog blood tested before vaccination to make sure he´s not already infected.

Then he will need 3x doses at 3x weeks apart.

Deltamethrin impregnated collars can be used but again not 100% effective.

Keeping your dog inside at dawn and dusk when sandflys are most active may also help.

But bringing your dog to a sandfly infested region is still putting him at serious risk, and the disease and it´s effects are often fatal.

Both my dogs are now infected and one of them was so seriously ill the vet thought he wasn´t going to make it or may have to be put to sleep.

I´m pleased to say he did eventually respond to treatment and now is bouncing around fit and well.

Leishmaniosis Signs and Symptoms

The first thing you will probably notice is your dogs loss of appetite and usual playfulness. We can usually spot when our dog is under the weather.

He may have some scaly scabs on his elbows and dandruff in his fur.

Other syptoms include.

Diarrhea. Vomiting. Ulcers. Swollen lymph nodes. Eye problems. Swollen and painful joints. Lumps or spots on his skin. Fever. Fur loss. Nose bleeds. Kidney failure. And weight loss, even if he is still eating ok.

If you live in a sandfly infested area or have visited one with your dog and he starts to become unwell GET HIM TO THE VET RIGHT AWAY. With early diagnosis and treatment you are more likely to keep your dog alive.

The Last Word

Once your dog has contracted leishmaniosis and if he lives. He will need regular treatment for the rest of his life to control the disease.

My own dogs have survived for years with the disease but have to have a blood test every year, or if they are looking off colour before the year is up their blood is always checked for signs that the leishmaniosis is overwhelming them. When the results from the blood test are back with the vet, she then works out what treatment is best. There are now 2 treatments available, one is a medicine which you add to the dogs food and the other is daily injections for however many days the vet feels is necessary, and it could be up to 30 days. They also have Alopurinol in pill form daily to help protect their Kidneys.

Still think it will be fun to bring Fido on holiday to the Mediterranean ? No I didn´t think so.

Better To leave Him At home
Better To leave Him At home | Source

A Little About bac2basics

Hi I am bac2basics and write on lots of different topics here on Some of my favorites are the spirit world and visits from those we have loved and lost, recipes, gardening hints and tips plus lots of money saving ideas, health problems and cures, travel destinations and my own happy holiday memories, the odd poem or two and whatever takes my fancy at the time. Please do check out some of my other topics , you may be pleasantly surprised.

Your comments are always really appreciated so please do leave some..Thanks


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    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Spain

      Hi Wiccansage. I am desperate to get this message out there because it truly is such a terrible disease and most people have no idea that it even exists. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment :)

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      6 years ago

      Oh my Goodness, horrible. Glad your pups pulled through. I don't travel much anymore but that's something to keep in mind there, thanks.

    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Spain

      Hiya Nell and Starbright. Thank you both so much for reading and taking the time to comment. This is one of the first hubs I published, I wrote it because I am so desperate to get this message out after what my younger dog suffered, it was touch and go with him for weeks and really really upsetting. I do have visitors from abroad visiting my villa but have now put a total block on them bringing animals because of some of the nasty diseases they can pick up here. Please do your best to get this message out, because more and more people are taking their dogs on holiday to Mediterranean countries, I have even had visitors from the Netherlands and further asking to bring their dogs with them.

    • starbright profile image

      Lucy Jones 

      6 years ago from Scandinavia

      Our 4 legged friends are without doubt far more happy at home anyway, instead of traveling long distances - to end up often just sitting on the beach. There are some brilliant kennels all over Europe and even friends or family are often willing to have a canine guest for a few days. It's a real shame to drag them everywhere and even more of a shame to put their health at risk.

      Really helpful hub. Clearly written and really useful information. Thank you so much for sharing bac2basics. Voted up.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi Anne, I never even thought of this! Wow! of course I would never take a dog abroad anyway, I love my animals to much to put them through the stress of traveling like that, it does make me mad when people think it will be good fun to take their dog, why? great info, and I just hope people will take notice in future, amazing stuff, hope you are okay? nell

    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Spain

      Thanks daisynicolas. I just want to get the word on this out as I´m sure it´s the last thing people think of when travelling with dogs.If I didn´t live in an area where it was rife I wouldn´t have a clue.By the way it´s also a problem in North America and Canada too.

    • daisynicolas profile image


      7 years ago from Alaska

      Thanks this informative educational warning to all dog lovers who regard their dog's safety and health FIRST.

    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Spain

      Hello DoltForHer. Thanks for reading.Most people bringing their dogs on holiday here wouldn´t have a clue that a bite from a fly could kill their pet. The thinking must be that because their pet is up to date with its vaccinations it´s covered for everything.Glad you have heard of it and I hope you will pass the info on, specially if you know anyone who is thinking of bringing a dog on holiday to the med.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great info! Have heard of that but had no idea of the severity.

    • bac2basics profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Spain

      Hello Seeker7. Thankyou so much for the praise, and not bringing your dog where he could be put at risk.

      I am very new to hub writing but this message was something I desperately wanted to get out there because of the seriousness of the disease. If it save´s just one dog from going through what Pup did, it will be worth it.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 

      7 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Well said - the dogs will be far happier at home staying with relatives or at a good quality kennel! Alternatively there are excellent places at home that are dog friendly. At any rate no way would I be taking my dogs to the Med and putting them through that trauma for nothing.

      Great hub + voted up!


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