There seem to be many misconceptions about dogs with leishmaniosis, and living with a dog who has tested positive with the disease.
Flora's adoptant, June, took the galga on knowing she has tested very positive. Here she explains what is involved in looking after Flora.
By the way, to see Flora, one would not know she had any disease! She is an absolute picture of good health!
In June's words;
I won't go into all the details of Leishmaniasis as any information about it is on the Internet. There is a particularly easy to read version on the Greyhounds in Need website.
However, from my perspective it is not difficult to live with a galgo/galga with the disease.
When I adopted Flora she had a very high count in her blood test...1/800. Any galgo testing that high is in need of regular medication.1/40 - 1/80 is acceptable but anything higher requires medication. The amount of times of dilution before a negative result is found determines the count.
Flora has three tablets per day(Allopurinol) during the winter months and, if necessary, she will take one Marbocyl tablet per day plus the Allopurinol during the summer months when she is at risk. Although there are no sandflies(which are the main cause of the disease) in this area of France any galgo/galga coming from Spain testing positive needs to be protected, particularly during dusk.
A Scalibor collar is a necessity and protects Flora for approximately 6-7 months, and routine 6 monthly blood tests are required. Depending on the test result determines the medication. Stress can affect the result...but as most galgos are couch potatoes, stress doesn't really come in to the equation.
It all sounds a bit frightening but, once into the routine of administering the medication regularly, it is simple. Flora is a happy, confident galga with a beautiful shiny black coat and a superb nature. Her quality of life is not undermined by having to take tablets each day..I think she quite enjoys the attention and waits patiently by the fridge for the tasty treat which her tablet is wrapped in!!!!
She is due for another blood test in 6-8 weeks' time (April) so fingers crossed for a negative result.
I would add a couple of things here. My galga tested positive 1/400 on her blood test before she left Spain. 4 weeks later, when she had the next blood test after arriving in France, the reading was negative.
Talking to a vet at my surgery, she says Leishmaniosis is creeping up France from Spain, mainly due to the change in climate. As the disease cannot be transmitted from dog to dog, this indicates that the sandfly is moving northwards.