So, I heard about Leishmaniasis from an online forum and decided to look into it.
It’s a nasty disease primarily caught by dogs, but humans can contract it too. It occurs after the bite of a Sandfly, which is a type of mosquito maybe a third the size of a normal mosquito. The first early sign might be lesions on the dogs skin. If your dog has lesions get it to a vet for a check.
I found lots of info online but it was all conflicting so I rang my vet and we had a long discussion about it. Apparently Leishmaniasis can result in death in many dogs, but with early intervention death can be prevented. However it is incurable, so any dog that contracts it will suffer throughout it’s life and need permanent medication.
There is a collar called Scalibor which apparently is the only one that is effective in putting off the sandfly from biting. So as a deterrent it’s about 80% effective. You can also get your dog vaccinated. This means an initial injection, then 2 more at 3 week intervals. They’re best done from being a pup but can be done effectively at any time. There is an annual booster too. The vaccination is also about 80% effective against contracting the disease should the dog be bitten, so there is no guaranteed drug that can eliminate the possibility of being bitten or infected.
The general advice is that Leishmaniasis is more prevalent along the mediterranean corridor, so Spain (where I’m headed next) is a risk. Generally speaking warmer countries and those further east have more risk, and that risk is high from May to October.
Sandflies are active from dusk til dawn, mostly outside but not in wind or rain. So generally speaking if you keep the dog indoors from dusk til dawn between May and October, and the dog has a collar and has been vaccinated, you are doing pretty much everything you can to limit the risk.
You can read some general stuff about Leishmaniasis here.