First UK Pet Succumbs To Tropical Disease and Vets Are Advising Measures as It Could Infect Humans

In what can be termed as a matter of grave health concern, a UK pet has just succumbed to a tropical type disease and health officials are warning it can be passed on to humans. The dog in question is a little three-year-old Shih Tzu who developed nausea and vomiting and diarrhea which was the classic signs of parvo but instead was something else called leishmaniasis which is a tropical disease that can also infect humans.

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1A deadly tropical parasitic disease

The disease leishmaniasis is a tropical type parasitic disease that is spread by sandflies and can be transmitted from animal to animal. The Shih Tzu who started vomiting and developed diarrhea started losing weight. It was sick for three weeks till it ultimately succumbed to its condition.  Vets suspect it may have contracted the disease from another canine whom it lived with and who was brought over from Spain.

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2The first case in the UK

This is the first ever case that has been reported in the UK where the three-year-old Shih Tzu living in Hertfordshire. The little dog was reported ill with the parasitic disease leishmaniasis infantum parasite. It had never left the British Isles which is what led vets to believe that it had contracted the disease from another pet that was brought from Spain and who put down six months ago after suffering from the same disease.

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3Cannot be transmitted directly to humans

The disease leishmaniasis cannot be transmitted from dogs to humans directly but sandflies can transmit the infection by biting pets and then passing onto humans. The thing is that sand flies aren’t usually found in the United Kingdom but humans can get infected when in tropical regions. This can result in fever, swelling of the spleen and liver and oozing sores on the body.

The Shih Tzu that died was also examined at the Veterinary College in Hatfield, UK. The examination was led by Myles McKenna who is from the department of clinical science and services. According to Mckenna, this is the very first case of leishmaniasis in the UK notably in a dog with no history of travel out of the country. The case was also published in the BMJ journal pet record.

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4Disease can increase

The report said that the contraction of the disease is likely to increase with more dogs and owner opting to travel including import of dogs into the country.  It also said the leishmaniasis infected dogs pose an infection risk to dogs even in the absence of carriers or vectors as direct transmission of the disease from dog to dog is very possible. Although the disease is transmitted by sandflies, dogs too can transmit the disease by biting other dogs.

Image Source: warwick.ac.uk
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