My dog has leishmaniasis (also known as kalazar ) Should I put her to sleep?
Finding out your dog has leishmaniasis, (kalazar)....
If you're reading this hub then more than likely you or someone you knows dog has been diagnosed with kalazar. It is a gut wrenching moment . When our dog - Beanie - was diagnosed, my first reaction was that she would have to be put to sleep, that reaction was mainly down to my ignorance of the disease and having heard that was the best thing to do for a dog with kalazar. Our vet told us not to make any decisions before giving our Beanie a blood test to check that the disease hadn't effected her vital organs. She explained that if we'd caught the disease early enough then we could manage it with medication, but if it was more advanced and had damaged her organs then euthanasia would be the kindest thing for our dog. Luckily for us the disease hadn't effected her organs and was manageable with drugs. Hopefully this will be the case with your dog too.
Managing your dogs kalazar....
Kalazar in dogs isn't curable, but it is manageable if caught early enough. Our dog is treated with tablets containing allopurinol every morning and evening, which is the cheapest way of treating it. It costs us about 2 euros 60 cents every three and a half weeks, which really isn't a lot (we live in Greece).There are other options including a course of very expensive injections which our vet advised us against as they did work out very expensive and she couldn't guarantee that they would work. She told us that as long as we gave Beanie her tablets as directed then she should be fine. When our dogs dermatitis flares up due to her kalazar I give her tablets containing levamisole a couple of times a week. As long as you are regular with the medication and make sure your dog swallows it then they should be fine. I give our dog her tablets poked into a piece of tasty - Beanie thinks so - cheap hot dog sausage and she never fails to follow me around until she has had it. Our dog has now lived with the disease for over four years now and it hasn't effected her quality of life, which at the end of the day is the most important thing.
The signs of kalazar in your dog....
If you just happen to read this and your dog hasn't been diagnosed with kalazar or you think that maybe your dog has the disease - in which case stop reading and call your vet!! Catching it early is the key to saving your dog, our dog certainly didn't appear ill in the slightest, so if your dog shows any of the following.
- Patchy fur loss or thinning of fur over their body with dandruff like skin flakes.
- A loss of fur to the rim of their eyes, a bit harder to notice, but once the vet pointed it out I could see what she meant.
- A dry nose and maybe fur loss on the top of their snout.
- Scaly patches on their elbows, maybe slightly inflamed.
- Our dog was excessively rubbing up on everything and had pink patches like mild eczema on her belly.
- Claws grow fast and become more obviously curved.
As the disease progresses the symptoms are.
- A continuous lack of interest in their food.
- Vomiting when they do eat.
- Weight loss.
Don't wait to see if you're dog gets better on their own or wait until you have the time to take your dog to the vet. Get your dog to the vet now and hopefully it turns out to be nothing serious,but if it is kalazar then hopefully you've caught it early enough and your dog can live out her years popping pills.
How is Kalazar spread?....
Kalazar is spread through the bite of an infected sandfly during the summer months in Mediterranean countries. Here in Greece the disease is quite rife among owned dogs and the stray dogs that sadly roam our streets.If an uninfected sandfly bites an infected dog the sandfly will then become infected and and will pass on the disease to any other dog it bites.
As the old saying goes prevention is better than cure.....
There are a few things you can do to lower the risk of infection for your dog. There is no 100% protection.
Sandflies bite in the summer from May through to October and at night between dusk and dawn, so if your dog is an indoor dog then keeping you dog inside at night lowers the risk of being bitten. There is a collar you can buy for your dog to wear, it looks like your common and garden flea collar, but it must contain the chemical deltamethrin as this is what repels the sandfly. It will also keep those nasty ticks and fleas at bay. We use what they call a Scalibor collar, it's the only one that we've found to contain the chemical where we live. Please don't be told that a collar will protect your dog if it doesn't contain deltamethrin, it won't. The collar protection last between four and six months depending on how often you wash your dog or if your dog likes to swim.
If your dog is an outside dog, then the risk of getting bitten is higher. Putting a protective collar on your dog and spraying the kennel with fly spray in the evening can help lower the risk.
Would it be kinder to put my dog to sleep?....
I'm hoping this article will help people to understand that a dog with kalazar can live happily and healthily as long as it gets the medication it needs and the disease has been caught early enough. Unfortunately if the disease has been caught late then the kindest thing to do would be to put your dog to sleep. Only you can make that decision with the help a vet. If you would feel happier getting a second opinion then do so.
I really hope your story ends like ours and your faithful friend goes onto live healthily and happily.