A 3-year-old Shih Tzu died from a parasitic disease and vets suspect the dog caught it from another dog it lived with.
The dog, who lived in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, became increasingly ill with diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss over three weeks. The 3-year-old pooch died after contracting Leishmania infantum parasite from another canine.
It turned out that the infected dog had visited Spain and was euthanized 6 months earlier after developing severe symptoms.
Even though dogs cannot pass leishmaniasis directly to people, sand flies can act as a reservoir for the infection by biting pets and pass the infection onto humans.
Although sand flies are not found in the United Kingdom, people infected in tropical areas can endure fever, oozing sores, and deadly swelling of the spleen and liver.
The pooch was examined by a team of the Royal Veterinary College in Hatfield, UK.
“To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first reported case of leishmaniosis in the UK in a dog without a history of travel to an endemic area,” the team wrote in the BMJ journal Vet Record.
“In an era of increased foreign travel of dogs and increased importation of dogs to the UK, it is likely that the number of dogs seropositive for L infantum will continue to increase.
“Leishmania-infected dogs may present an infection risk to other dogs, even in the absence of natural vectors, as direct transmission between dogs is possible.”
Leishmaniasis is commonly transmitted via sandflies. However, infected dogs can spread the infection by biting other animals.
In another case, a 3-year-old English Pointer, who never went out of the country, also developed leishmaniasis. Its owners had lived in Spain and vets believe they may have brought back sand flies in their luggage.
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