Gad Baneth, Christine Petersen, Laia Solano-Gallego, Jane E. Sykes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


• First Described: The cause of visceral leishmaniasis was first described in India in 1903 (separately by William Leishman and Charles Donovan). • Causes: Canine and feline leishmaniosis is caused by Leishmania infantum (synonymous with Leishmania chagasi) (class Kinetoplasta, family Trypanosomatidae). Other species such as Leishmania braziliensis cause localized cutaneous lesions in South America (American tegumentary leishmaniosis). • Affected Hosts: Dogs and less commonly cats; also humans, rodents, wild canids, horses, and marsupial species. • Geographic Distribution: Primarily southern Europe and the Middle East, Asia, northern Africa, Central and South America; also some parts of the United States. Travel-related disease may occur in nonendemic regions worldwide. • Mode of Transmission: Phlebotomus and Lutzomyia spp. sand flies. Transmission through blood transfusion as well as vertical transmission can occur. • Major Clinical Signs: Weight loss, inappetence, scaling, and/or ulcerative non-pruritic cutaneous lesions, onychogryphosis, keratoconjunctivitis, uveitis, lymphadenomegaly, hepatosplenomegaly, pallor, lameness, signs of renal failure. • Differential Diagnoses: Differential diagnoses in dogs with systemic disease include canine monocytic ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, histoplasmosis, brucellosis, hemic neoplasia, other metastatic neoplasms, and primary autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus. Differential diagnoses for cutaneous lesions in dogs include demodectic mange, pyoderma, Malassezia dermatitis, cutaneous vasculitis, and pemphigus foliaceus. Differential diagnoses for cutaneous lesions in cats include cutaneous neoplasia, cutaneous vasculitis, herpesviral dermatitis, and dermatophytosis. The primary differential for American tegumentary leishmaniosis is sporotrichosis. • Human Health Significance: Human infections are primarily transmitted by sand flies, and are caused by a large number of different Leishmania species. Dogs are considered the major reservoir for L. infantum infections. Precautions should be taken when handling potentially infected tissue and blood specimens.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationGreene's Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat, Fifth Edition
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780323509343
ISBN (Print)9780323636209
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Leishmania
  • amastigote
  • foxhound
  • sand fly
  • transplacental
  • vector-borne disease


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