Leishmaniasis in dogs

Clinical information:

Leishmaniasis is a zoonotic infection that is caused by protozoa of the Leishmania genus. Leishmania infantum, Leishmania chagasi and Leishmania donovani, which belong to the Leishmania donovani complex, are of particular importance. These monocellular parasites are transmitted to humans or animals via the bite of female sandflies of the genera Phlebotomus (Africa, Asia, Europe) or Lutzomyia (Central and South America). Dogs are considered as the most important reservoir. Due to the zoonotic potential, infected dogs are a major problem in veterinary and human medicine. It is assumed that 50 % to 80 % of dogs in endemic areas are infected with Leishmania. However, Leishmania infection is not synonymous with canine leishmaniasis. Less than 10 % of infected dogs show clinical symptoms. Certain dog breeds and the age of the dog are associated with a predisposition for the development of leishmaniasis. The immune response of the dog is also crucial for manifestation.

Leishmania infections are characterised by long incubation times, which may be months to years. The various zymodemes of the individual Leishmania species can cause different clinical manifestations. In dogs it is often impossible to discriminate between visceral and cutaneous leishmaniasis because the visceral form is frequently accompanied by skin changes. The large variety of symptoms includes fever, weight loss, anorexia, various skin changes (e.g. dermatitis, hyperkeratoses, paw pad fissures), eye problems (e.g. uveitis, keratoconjunctivitis) and various organ problems (e.g. glomerulonephritis, hepato- and splenomegaly), diseases of the musculoskeletal system (e.g. due to polyarthritis) and changes in laboratory results (e.g. hyperglobulinaemia, hypoalbuminaemia, proteinuria). Clinical symptoms of canine leishmaniasis can improve or even subside with chemotherapy. However, relapses are possible since the treatment does not allow complete elimination of the parasite. Vaccination against Leishmania is possible.


Diagnosis of Leishmania infection is generally based on serological tests (IIFT or ELISA) detecting Leishmania-specific IgG antibodies. High antibody titers correlate with clinical leishmaniasis or indicate a possible manifestation of canine leishmaniasis in infected asymptomatic dogs. Pathogen detection by means of PCR can help to establish a Leishmania diagnosis, but it does not allow conclusions to be drawn with respect to a clinical manifestation. Therefore, serological detection is the method of choice for diagnosing canine leishmaniasis.

Product overview
MethodSubstrateDiagnostic applicationOrder number
ELISASpecific, purified antigen of
the Leishmania donovani complex
IgG ELISA; high sensitivity for infections with Leishmania of the L. donovani complex;
high specificity due to use of Leishmania-specific recombinant antigen
EI 2232-9601 GC