Leishmaniasis in cats, a dangerous and unknown disease

Sick cat

Although leishmaniasis is a disease more typical of dogs than cats, the sad reality is that it not only affects felines but it can also be very dangerous if they do not receive treatment in time.

For this reason, we are going to explain what is leishmaniasis in cats and what are the symptoms so that it is easier for you to recognize it.

What is it?

Leishmaniasis It is a disease transmitted by sandflies (a type of mosquito). The carriers of leishmania, which is a protozoan, are the females of the insect since they are the ones that feed on the blood of the animal, whether it is a person, dog or cat.

Once the protozoan has been inoculated through the bite, it will spread through the skin (cutaneous Leishmaniosis) or through certain viscera (visceral Leishmaniosis). In the case of the cat, you should know that it will only have it if its immune system is compromised, for example due to a serious illness such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

What are the symptoms?

It will depend on the type of leishmaniasis you have:

  • Cutaneous: inflammation of the skin with alopecia, ulcerations, formation of nodules and pustules, thickening of the skin, depigmentation of the nose and fingers, flaking, dull and brittle hair, among others.
  • Visceral: weight loss, liver enlargement (and therefore abdominal enlargement), decreased activity, apathy, depression.

How is it diagnosed?

If we suspect that our cat may have it, we have to take it to the vet as soon as possible. Once there, they will do a leishmaniasis test (It consists of taking a blood sample to analyze if you have inoculated protozoa). In the case of confirmation, it will give you a treatment.

How is it treated?

The treatment of leishmaniasis in cats is still somewhat in the experimental phase. As they are animals that are not usually outside, the risk of them getting sick is very low. Still, the vet may choose to administer allopurinol or meglumine antimoniate. The The use of permethrin in these animals is strongly discouraged.as they are toxic to them.

Cat with sick eyes

We hope it has been useful to you.

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