Leishmaniosis is an illness caused by mosquitos called flebótomos. It is a serious illness and with fatal consequences in a lot of cases.

It mainly affects dogs , but can be found in other animals and in humans too. The mosquitos in warm periods (spring – summer – autumn) extract blood from infected dogs and then transmit these parasites into new animals or even human beings.

The clinical symptoms are varied and can be present or not, which can complicate the diagnosis, especially for doctors that are not used to work with dogs with Leishmaniosis. External signs could be: hair loss, exaggerated claw growth, ulcers on the pads, callouses on the elbows etc , and internal signs: kidney failure , eye conditions, arthritis, weight loss, anemia ………

The strategies to prevent Leishmanosis are very varied. We can use collars and spot-on drops that prevent the mosquito bite. Their efficiency is appreciable but insufficient to guarantee a total protection. Keeping animals inside after dark is a compliment to the fight, but does not offer security. “Vaccine” against Leishmaniosis (Canileish by Virbac), offers security and a good measure of protection, which reaches 70 – 90% in vaccinated dogs.

It is recommended to have our pets checked each year after the summer.


Rickettsia  causes the illness known as the Rocky Mountain Fever.

It is a bacteria that is transmitted by the mouths of ticks which infest dogs when the ticks are most active, from April to September. Any dog, regardless of it’s age, which has not had previous contact with Rickettsia can develop this illness. Humans can also contract this disease by being bitten by a tick, but cats are resistant to infection.

Most common symptoms are fever, depression….. although symptoms can also be pulmonary, renal, and in some cases it can affect the nervous system. Frequently small amounts of bruising or bleeding can appear around the skin.

Diagnosis is formed by the presence of symptoms, ticks and a positive blood test.

Treatment is antibiotics. This illness does not happen twice in the same animal….. after being affected the animal creates an immunity towards it.

It is good to have a yearly blood test carried out. The best way to prevent this illness is to keep check on the actual ticks.


Ehrlichia is a type of Rickettsia which is transmitted by the saliva of a tick. It is only contagious by ticks that have taken blood from an animal in acute phase of the illness.

The acute stage is between 1 -3 weeks after the transmission from the tick and lasts several weeks. This phase usually occurs in spring – summer when the ticks are most active. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite and weight, nasal and ocular secretion, breathing difficulties, bruising and signs of bleeding.

Treatment consists in alleviating the effects caused by the illness, by giving antibiotics and in some cases, corticoides.

It is good to have a yearly blood test carried out. The best way to prevent this illness is to keep check on the actual ticks.


The distemper virus causes a very serious illness, highly contagious, which can be fatal.

Young animals are most susceptible to being infected because of their under-developed immune system, although adult dogs that have not been vaccinated or that have been exposed to stressful situations can be affected too.

The virus infects generally the digestive, respiratory and nervous system, producing a variety of symptoms that will also depend on the state of the immune system of the dog. The symptoms vary from cough, nasal secretion, fever and diarrhea, even shaking and convulsions of the worst sort.

It is contagious through nasal secretion and urine from infected dogs. An animal that is recuperating from this illness will carry on being infectious during 60 – 90 days until the virus is eliminated.

To prevent catching this illness we recommend correct vaccination of puppies during the risk period, when the maternal immunity disappears. In the case of the appearance of symptoms, the vet will give treatment to alleviate the discomfort for the animal.


Parvovirus produces a hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, which is very contagious, usually accompanied by a fatal ending. It mainly affects puppies and non-vaccinated animals or those with very low immune systems. The illness is contracted through fecal – oral contact. This virus is very resistant to external environmental conditions and survives for long periods.

The first signs of this illness are depression, loss of appetite, fever and diarrhea that can carry blood. Due to the vomiting and diarrhea the dog dehydrates very quickly and this can have fatal consequences for the body. Some patients can die within the first 48 – 72 hours after the first symptoms. It is important to take the animal to the vet straight away if any of these symptoms are noticed.

Once the illness is detected, the vet will proceed to alleviate the symptoms and combat the dehydration. The animal will be put in quarantine away from other dogs, to avoid the illness spreading.

The best prevention against this illness is vaccination. The protocol to follow is similar to that of Distemper and that is why they are usually given together

It is recommended to keep puppies away from other dog feces until it is fully vaccinated. Hygiene is a very important factor where lots of dogs live together, bleach being the only substance capable of inactivating the virus.

Canine Coronavirus

This is a virus that provokes an attack of enteritis of variable intensity in young dogs. Adult dogs can be affected but usually do not show symptoms. The immature immune system of young dogs makes them more susceptible to contamination.

The most common symptoms are very similar to the Parvovirus: diarrhea, on occasions carrying blood, lethargic and loss of appetite. The seriousness of this illness will depend on the level of dehydration.

The best prevention is a good state of general cleanliness and disinfection in places where there are a lot of dogs together, as we have said before in the Parvovirosis section. There are vaccines, but now-a-days do not seem necessary, as it is not a lethal virus and the symptoms of the illness usually disappear after a few days.


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