Dear Dogs Today,
We are currently living in Cyprus and brought our nine-year-old retired racing Greyhound out with us. We have recently adopted another Greyhound out here who was in a poor state. She is approx four years old and has had puppies at some point. She was bald and red raw in the back end from a flea allergy which has now cleared up and her hair is growing back. She tested positive for tick infections with a blot test and is on 300mg Doxycyline per day for a month and now seems well in herself but she also showed positive for Leishmania. The vet has said that this would be difficult to treat along with the tick infections so we are to go back after the course of Doxycyline for a further test which goes off to a laboratory. If this comes back positive I really don't know what to do for the best as the reading on the internet is quite grim. The vet has said that the signs do not look good as she has ulcers on her paws, lower legs and end of her tail. She also urinates frequently and drinks alot although this has improved with her drinking less. We have had her 4 weeks now and she has also vomited 3 times always within 20 min of eating.
I have read that Leishmania is incurable and that the treatment can make the dog as ill as the disease. However I have spoken to someone who had a dog with Leishmania who lived to the age of 18. The dog did suffer relapses but recovered with treatment and according to the owner lived a long and happy life after the eventual use of the drug Allopurinol.
Unfortunately there is also the matter of cost, although I wish this was not a factor it is something we will have to consider. What sort of cost will it be to care for a dog with Leishmania?
I am also very concerned about our healthy boy catching the disease. I understand if an insect feeds on her and then feeds on him he could catch it, also if she was to bite him (although they are both lovely temperaments so I'm not too worried about this). Does this mean it's in her saliva which would worry me as they share a water bowl and really would be very difficult to police if they were to not drink out of the same bowl. Also they share chews, is this a route of infection?
Summary of questions:
How difficult is Leishmania to treat?
How much does the dog suffer on the treatment?
How expensive is the treatment and long term care?
How much danger from catching the disease is my healthy boy in?
Laura Davis, by email