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What is leishmaniasis?

Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by a protozoan parasite found in dogs and certain rodents in many parts of the world, most commonly in rural areas. "The parasite is transmitted by a small biting sand fly.

Canine leishmaniasis is classified into two types: cutaneous leishmaniasis (affecting the skin) and visceral leishmaniasis (affecting the kidney and liver). In addition, there are others which link to this disease, however, these ‘other’ symptoms are less frequent.

​Leishmania in dogs: symptoms

One of the most common symptoms of leishmaniasis in dogs is a lack of appetite. There are other symptoms of leishmaniasis in dogs which can also help you identify whether your dog is suffering from the parasitic disease. leishmaniasis in dogs symptoms include:

Cutaneous leishmaniasis in dogs

  • Exaggerated nail growth

  • Hair loss in various parts of your body, specifically around the nose, eyes and ears.

  • Skin peeling.

  • Infections, scabs and reddened areas on the skin.

  • Hardened mucous membranes.

  • Brittle textured, dry and opaque fur.

  • Formation of ulcers on the skin, especially around a dog’s leg area.

  • The appearance of nodules.

Visceral leishmaniasis in dogs

  • Sudden weight loss.

  • Kidney function alterations.

  • Apathetic behavior.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Fever.

  • Anemia.

  • Decrease in muscle mass.

  • Abdominal swelling due to liver and spleen inflammation.

Other symptoms of canine leishmaniasis

  • Chronic diarrhea.

  • Coughing.

  • Conjunctivitis.

  • Nasal hemorrhages.

  • Pneumonia.


Lyme Disease in Dogs

Lyme disease in dogs is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world, but it only causes symptoms in 5-10% of affected dogs. So some dogs may have it, but never show symptoms.  Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete (bacteria) of the Borrelia burgdorferi species.

Infection typically occurs after the Borrelia-carrying tick has been attached to the dog for approximately 241 - 48 hours.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs

Here are some common and less common symptoms and complications of Lyme disease in dogs.

Most Common Symptoms

When infection leads to Lyme disease in dogs, the dominant symptoms are:

  • Recurrent lameness due to inflammation of the joints

  • Fever1

  • General feeling of malaise

Many dogs who develop Lyme disease have periodic lameness because their joints are inflamed. Sometimes the lameness lasts for only 3-4 days but recurs days to weeks later, either in the same leg or other legs.

This is known as “shifting-leg lameness.” One or more joints may be swollen, warm, and painful.

Other Symptoms

In some cases, Lyme disease can also cause: 

  • Depression

  • Enlarged lymph nodes1

  • Lack of appetite

  • Stiff walk with an arched back

  • Sensitivity to touch

  • Difficulty breathing


Anaplasmosis in Dogs

Anaplasmosis is a condition in dogs caused by the bacteria Anaplasma phagocytophilum. It's transmitted by the bite of deer ticks that are carrying the bacteria. Another form of the condition is caused by the bacteria Anaplasma platys, and it's spread by the brown dog tick.

Signs of Anaplasmosis in Dogs

If a dog has contracted Anaplasma phagocytophilum, he may show some or all of the following signs of illness:

  • Fever

  • Lethargy

  • Decreased or absent appetite

  • Shifting leg lameness (limping on one leg, then the other)

Signs that occur sometimes but not as often as those above include:

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Coughing

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Seizures

Some dogs with anaplasmosis develop a condition called cyclic thrombocytopenia. That means they develop low platelet levels every so often, which can lead to abnormal blood clotting. The symptoms of that may be recurrent nosebleeds or skin bruising. Cyclic thrombocytopenia is associated with infection by Anaplasma platys.


What is Ehrlichiosis

Also known as canine hemorrhagic fever, this condition can cause lethargy, breathing problems, and ocular discharge. Other names for this condition are canine typhus, tracker dog disease, canine rickettsiosis, and tropical canine pancytopenia.

Ehrlichiosis is an infectious tick-borne illness caused by Ehrlichia, a bacteria belonging to the family Ehrlichiaceae. The bacteria attacks the canine’s blood cells, progressing into a chronic infection.

Symptoms of Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

The symptoms of ehrlichiosis can vary from mild to severe. You may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Ticks found attached to your pet

  • Fever

  • Lethargy

  • Weakness

  • Weight loss

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Sneezing

  • Anemia

  • Discharge coming from the eyes

  • Lack of appetite

  • Nasal discharge

  • Joint pain

  • Swelling of the legs

  • Nose bleeds

  • Loss of coordination

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Edema (retention of fluids under the skin)

  • Bleeding inside the eye

  • Blindness

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