ISSN 2398-2942      

Control of canine leishmaniosis


Gad Baneth

Susan E Shaw


  • Several species of Leishmania have been reported in dogs, the major veterinary concern is infection by Leishmania infantum/chagasi Leishmania infantum.
  • Domestic dogs are the major reservoir of infection for humans so campaigns to control canine leishmaniasis (CanL) Canine leishmaniosis have been primarily geared towards reduction of the risk of human infection rather than solving an important canine welfare problem.
  • Treatment is expensive and although there is good clinical response in the majority of dogs with leishmaniosis, low level infection may persist despite therapy.
  • The only fully successful control campaign involved the elimination of all dogs in eastern China, an outmoded strategy that is no longer acceptable in that country or elsewhere.
  • In Brazil, a temporary fall in CanL was seen following the culling of seropositive dogs in small urban areas. However, large scale attempts were abandoned because of cost and the difficulty in maintaining a dog population with a low density of infection. In particular, preventing the re-introduction of susceptible dogs to replace those culled, was difficult to control.
  • In Italy, treatment of dogs with clinical leishmaniosis using the pentavalent antimonial, meglumine antimoniate (Glucantime®, Merial) Meglumine antimoniate reduced the prevalence of CanL. However, parasites isolated from dogs with relapses displayed resistance to the drug and, as pentavalent antimonials are the drugs of choice to treat human cases, this approach is not sustainable.
  • Current means of control are aimed at the sand fly vectors.
  • CaniLeish® (the first vaccine against CanL registered by the European Medicines Agency in 2011 by Virbac) has been developed to vaccinate dogs from six months of age to reduce the risk of developing an active infection and clinical disease after contact with Leishmania infantum. It is to be used only in leishmania-negative dogs.
  • LetiFend® (Laboratorios LETI, Spain:
  • Leish-Tec®, single licensed vaccine available in Brazil (

The vectors

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Time of greatest risk of infection

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Methods of control of sand flies

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Protection of dogs against sand fly bites

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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Toepp A,  Larson M, Wilson G et al (2018) Randomized, controlled, double-blinded field trial to assess Leishmania vaccine effectiveness as immunotherapy for canine leishmaniosis. 
    Vaccine 36 (43), 6433-6441 PubMed.
  • Fernández Cotrina J, Iniesta V, Monroy I et al (2018) A large-scale field randomized trial demonstrates safety and efficacy of the vaccine LetiFend® against canine leishmaniosis. Vaccine 36 (15), 1972-1982 PubMed.
  • Solano-Gallego L, Miró G, Koutinas A et al (2011) LeishVet guidelines for the practical management of canine leishmaniosis. Parasit Vectors 4, 86 PubMed.
  • Ferroglio E, Poggi M, Trisciuoglio A (2008) Evaluation of 65% permethrin spot-on and deltamethrin-impregnated collars for canine Leishmania infantum infection prevention. Zoonoses Public Health 55 (3), 145-148 PubMed.
  • Miró G, Gálvez R, Mateo M et al (2007) Evaluation of the efficacy of a topically administered combination of imidacloprid and permethrin against Phlebotomus perniciosus in dog. Vet Parasitol 143 (3-4), 375-379 PubMed.
  • Molina R, Miró G, Gálvez R et al (2006) Evaluation of a spray of permethrin and pyriproxyfen for the protection of dogs against Phlebotomus perniciosus. Vet Rec 159 (7), 206-209 PubMed.
  • Palatnik-de-Sousa C B, Batista-de-Melo L M, Borja-Cabrera G P et al (2004) Improving methods for epidemiological control of canine visceral leishmaniosis based on a mathematical model. Impact of the incidence of the canine and human disease. An Acad Bras Cienc 76 (3), 583-593 PubMed.
  • Reithinger R, Coleman P G, Alexander B et al (2004) Are insecticide impregnated dog collars a feasible alternative to dog culling as a strategy for controlling canine visceral leishmaniosis in Brazil? Int J Parasitol 34 (1), 55-62 PubMed.
  • Gavgani A S, Hodjati M H, Mohite H et al (2002) Effect of insecticide-impregnated dog collars on incidence of zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis in Iranian children: a matched-cluster randomised trial. The Lancet 360 (9330), 374-379 PubMed.
  • Chen S, Li F, He J et al (2001) Experimental study on prevention of dog-sandfly contact by deltamethrin collar. End Dis Bull 16 (3), 17-19 VetMedResource.
  • David J R, Stamm L M, Bezarra H S et al (2001) Deltamethrin-impregnated plastic dog collars have a potent anti-feeding effect on Lutzomyia longipalpis and Lutzomyia migonei. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 96 (6), 839-847 PubMed.
  • Maroli M, Mizzon V, Siragusa C et al (2001) Evidence for an impact on the incidence of canine leishmaniasis by the mass use of deltamethrin-impregnated dog collars in southern Italy. Med Vet Entomol 15 (4), 358-363 PubMed.
  • Molina R, Lohse J M & Nieto J (2001) Evaluation of a topical solution containing 65% permethrin against the sandfly (Phlebotomus perniciosus) in dogs. Vet Ther (3), 261-267 PubMed.
  • Reithinger R, Teodoro U & Davies C R (2001) Topical insecticide treatments to protect dogs from sand fly vectors of leishmaniasis. Emerg Infect Dis (5), 872-876 PubMed.
  • Halbig P, Hodjati M H, Mazloumi-Gavagni A S et al (2000) Further evidence that deltamethrin-impregnated collars protect domestic dogs from sandfly bites. Med Vet Entomol 14 (2), 223-226 PubMed.
  • Killick-Kendrick R, Killick-Kendrick M, Focheux C et al (1997) Protection of dogs from bites of phlebotomine sandflies by deltamethrin collars for control of canine leishmaniasis.​ Med Vet Entomol 11 (2), 105-111 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • European Medicines Agency
  • Advanced management of Canine Leishmaniosis. Proceedings of the Southern European Veterinary Conference (SEVC) 2011 Symposium, Barcelona, Spain. September 30, 2011.
  • Killick-Kendrick R & Watson T (Eds) (2002) Proceedings of the 2nd International Forum on Canine Leishmaniasis, Seville, 6-9 February, 2002. Boxmeer: Intervet International.
  • Ascher F, Alves-Pires C, Campos C, Capela M J & Aguiar P (1997) Effet protecteur d'un spray insecticide contre Phlebotomus perniciosus vecteur de leishmaniose. In: Conférence Nationale des Vétérinaires Specialisés en Petits Animaux (CNVSPA), Paris, November 1997, 3pp.

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