Sandflies are small gnats that proliferate in the south of the United States and are in the process of expanding in the Rhone canal (Garonne valley, Rhone valley, Brittany…), however, they are spreading throughout the United States due to climate change.
The wind, the temperature, and the time of day influence their behavior. The sandfly is most active at the end of the day, at nightfall. The sandfly is a dangerous insect for the dog because it can transmit a parasitosis impossible to eliminate like embedded fully ticks on dogs.
HOW ARE DOGS INFECTED WITH SANDFLIES?
The bite of a sandfly can inoculate a parasite called leishmania which will contaminate the dog. The incubation period can range from 3 months to 10 years depending on studies done on dogs. If the pathology takes a long time to declare itself, it is no less dangerous and requires vigilance on the part of the masters.
The sandfly preferably bites the glabrous (hairless) parts of the animal (the muzzle, the ear flap, or the muzzle). The sting causes redness or a papule or a kind of crevice called an inoculation chancre. This is the first sign left by the sandfly.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A SANDFLY BITE?
Once the dog is bitten by a leishmaniasis-carrying sandfly, the parasitic disease may manifest after several months of incubation. The main symptoms are:
- a dog that looks like an old dog.
- muscle wasting, especially in the head.
- loss of hair with the appearance of scabs.
- abnormally large nail growth (onychogryphosis) or “fakir’s nails” was noticed in 40% of infected dogs.
- eye disorders.
VETERINARY TREATMENTS FOR DOG LEISHMANIASIS
To diagnose this parasitic disease in dogs, veterinarians can carry out various medical examinations:
- Blood smear or blood test.
- Puncture of a lymph node or marrow.
- Spleen ultrasound.
- PCR analysis or polymerase chain reaction.
These examinations will reveal the importance of the infestation and the contaminated organs.
Treatments for leishmaniasis generally combine several drugs to be taken orally and by injection. Improvements following treatment are usually visible after 50 days of attack treatment. The dog will then have to follow a maintenance treatment to avoid a new outbreak of leishmania.
For some years now, a vaccine against leishmaniasis has been available and is well tolerated by dogs. However, prevention with antiparasitic drugs avoids the sandfly bite. Whether the dog is vaccinated or not, it is recommended to maintain prevention against insect bites using external antiparasitic. They are available:
- a spray
- a pipette
- in necklace
We can spray a repellent in the rooms where the dog lives and avoid taking it out at nightfall. You can also place a fan near the sleeping place of the dog, the sandflies fleeing the wind and drafts. You can also utilize a tick remover for cats to get the job done.