Canine diseases …. An overview.
May we first point out that we are not vets and have no veterinary training but we will try to explain these diseases in layman’s terms. There are numerous sites on the web that specialise in these diseases that you may wish to study if you want more, in-depth, information.
– Transmission….. The disease is predominantly transmitted by the phlebotomine sand-fly found predominantly in low lying rural woodland areas. Females bite and feed off the infected animal, incubate and then transfer the disease through biting another uninfected dog.
Do not be confused by their name as sand flies are not found in sand. They breed in moist soil containing organic matter and have a limited flight range. They are more active at dawn and dusk so keeping your animal indoors at these times can reduce the risk of infection.
There is also a slight rick of cross infection through blood transfusions.
– High risk areas….. Although limited cases have been found in other places, areas of high risk include the countries adjoining the Mediterranean (Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Greece) North Africa, Central and South America. Infection rates can reach 40% in endemic areas. The Canary Islands are not considered endemic due to their geographical position.
– Symptoms….. Diagnosis can only be confirmed by clinical tests but external symptoms could include chronic weight loss, skin lesions around the ears and eyes, claw lengthening, abdominal distension, dandruff, nose bleeds, ulcerative and modular dermatitis. There could also be renal failure, anaemia, diarrhoea, stiffness, vomiting and decreased appetite.
– Further information…. The disease has an incubation period of 3 months to several years and can attack any age dog. There is no cure for this but if treatment is given early enough the dog can live a fairly normal life but will always be a “carrier”. The symptoms can reoccur and relapses are common.
Insecticide collars impregnated with deltamethrin can be used as a preventative method as they not only deter the sand flies but can actually kill them off before they have chance to bite.
This is a bacterial disease transmitted through the saliva of the brown tick. It is difficult to diagnose early on as symptoms might not present themselves for 1 – 3 weeks.
There are three stage of infection and if treated in the early stage the prognosis is good. But dogs that have not shed the disease and reach the later stages the animal may not respond to treatment.
Early stage symptoms include fever, poor appetite, weight loss, blood loss from orifices or under the skin and can be treated with antibiotics which could take a month to take effect. Later stage treatment might include intravenous fluids and blood transfusion.
Prevention is quite simple. Tick control is the most effective both animal and living areas.
A parasitic roundworm transmitted through mosquito bites. It is a small thread like worm that during the reproductive cycle of its life it resides in the right ventricle of the heart where it can live for years.
The female gives birth to live young called microfilarias which live in the blood stream of the host, waiting to be ingested by a mosquito. And thus the cycle continues.
Symptoms are not evident until the heartworm reaches adulthood. Symptoms will then show as severe weight loss, fainting, coughing up blood and, finally, congestive heart failure.
There is a long and expensive treatment for heartworms but the dog must be checked for liver, kidney and heart function to evaluate the risks of treatment.
There is a simple prevention as there is a topical treatment available which should be administered monthly.