Leishmaniasis vaccine in dogs Is it effective?

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Leishmaniasis or leishmaniosis is a parasitic disease that causes various damages in the dog’s organism. Furthermore, it has zoonotic potential. Therefore, it is essential that we follow preventive measures to prevent our dog from becoming ill.

Among them, in recent years a vaccine has been developed. It is an option to consider, especially in those specimens that reside or travel to places with a high presence of the disease. Do you want to know all the details about this innovative vaccine against leishmaniasis? Let’s go there.

Index of contents

  • 1 Leishmaniasis prevention
  • 2 When was the leishmania vaccine created?
  • 3 How does the leishmaniasis vaccine work?
  • 4 Efficacy and reliability of the leishmaniasis vaccine
  • 5 Leishmaniasis Vaccine Price
  • 6 When do you get the leishmaniasis vaccine?
  • 7 Disadvantages of the leishmania vaccine

Leishmaniasis prevention

As leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease that transmits a vector, in this case a mosquito, prevention has focused on products that protect the dog from its bite.

But, Thanks to the increasing knowledge of the immunological mechanisms that are important in this disease, new strategies are being developed. These allow you to protect dogs, so to speak, internally.

So that, although it is not possible to avoid the bite, the dog remains protected. The strategies are oriented to prevention but also to treatment. This line includes the creation of a prophylactic vaccine.

When was the leishmania vaccine created?

The possibility of creating a vaccine against Leishmania began to be considered in the late 1990s. That these products finally reach the market involves a long process of scientific studies and clinical trials. This made it only a few years ago to come to the clinics.

For example, the first vaccine, CaniLeish by Virbac, it was not commercialized until 2011. More recently, specifically since 2016, Letifend, a recombinant vaccine created by Leti laboratories, has started to be used.

Both vaccines contain Leishmania infantum proteins, but the latest technology allows for greater efficiency with fewer adjuvants. This implies a lower percentage of adverse reactions and the need for fewer doses.

How does the leishmaniasis vaccine work?

These vaccines do not prevent infection, but control the spread of the parasite in the body and reduce the risk of developing the clinical picture and its potentially serious consequences. In other words, what is sought is that the dog becomes more resistant to the disease. Its operation is like that of any other vaccine.

It is based on stimulating the response of the dog’s immune system inoculating, in this case, leishmania proteins that cannot develop the disease. It would be like pretending the disease, but without risks. A specific response of the organism to that specific infectious agent is generated and, in addition, memory is created.

This produces defenses that are those that would immediately attack leishmania if the dog came into contact with it. This memory is not permanent, therefore, to maintain protection, the dose must be repeated every so often. Since no vaccine prevents infection, it is essential to implement preventive measures against the vector mosquito.

Efficacy and reliability of the leishmaniasis vaccine

When a vaccine is marketed it is because a significant percentage of efficacy has been verified. The company that has developed it must present studies that show scientific efficacy. However, we may come across a vaccinated dog sick with leishmaniasis.

It may be because the efficacy of the vaccine has not been enough to protect it. But it is also possible that the dog was infected before giving the vaccine. Further, leishmania is a complicated parasite to control by the protection mechanisms it is capable of developing.

This is why making a good vaccine is more difficult than with other infectious agents. Its administration is recommended for dogs that live in areas where leishmaniasis is abundant or are going to move to them, even if only on a trip.

Leishmaniasis Vaccine Price

To find out how much the vaccine will cost, it is best to ask the vet directly. It is very common that there are different prices depending on our place of residence. In addition, we must add the previous tests and the possible revaccination. As guidance we can give a figure of between 30 and 40 euros per dose.

When do you get the leishmaniasis vaccine?

The leishmaniasis vaccine is indicated for the immunization of dogs that have over six months old. Before administering it, it is recommended to test the dog to know if it is already infected or not.

Although it should be noted that some of these tests do not have a very high sensitivity, which can cause false negatives. The dose should be repeated on an annual basis. CaniLeish initially needs three doses three weeks apart each.

  • Compulsory vaccinations for dogs

Disadvantages of the leishmania vaccine

The main one is that the defense mechanism against leishmania requires the development of a type of immunity that is difficult to achieve. This makes more doses necessary to get some efficacy. In addition, it also involves the use of stronger adjuvants. Although Letifend improves these aspects.

Adjuvants are substances that are added to the vaccine in order to enhance its action. But they are also related to the appearance of adverse reactions. For all these reasons it is not recommended to vaccinate dogs younger than six months. These puppies cannot develop an effective immune response.

Currently work is being done to improve vaccines against leishmania. As side effects we can notice itching at the point of inoculation or inflammation. With CaniLeish fever, apathy or digestive problems may appear. Vaccination during pregnancy and lactation is not recommended.