Hello all, I just wanted to make everyone aware of a debilitating parasitic canine disease called Leishmaniasis which is rare but becoming more common in the Southern Departments of France. I am located in the Tarn and adopted a dog from a village about an hour North in late November. The poor pup has been sick since the day we got him. He arrived very skinny and has suffered from seizures, frequent nose bleeds, painful joints, and general lethargy. He has been to the vet numerous times and has been on a number of medications while we tried to find a cause. A few weeks ago, he woke up unable to urinate. We rushed him to an emergency vet where they diagnosed him with Leishmaniasis. They said a few more days and he would have been dead.
It is still very 'touch and go'. We must give him shots every two days for a month and have his kidneys tested regularly in hopes that they haven't been too damaged. The shorts do not cure, only supress the disease. After that he must take daily medication to control it and there is serious risk of reocurrance. The shots make him listless and are currently aggravating the symptoms.
Leishmaniasis is spread by the bite of a sand flea and can be spread to other dogs or to humans (with lesser consequences). Luckily our other dog has tested fine and is now receiving the vaccination. The vaccination has only been available for about a year. It must be done over three courses and is expensive.
If you are in the Southern Departments, please ask your veterinarian about this.