Those of you who have read my book will have been introduced to Lucho, an amazing survivor of the Spanish holocaust, adopted by Chris in the US from Scooby Medina. He developed leptospirosis and Chris kindly wrote a case history about her experiences with Lucho and beating the disease.
Earlier this year, Lucho developed Leishmania. Even though he tested negative before leaving Spain, the disease can lie dormant and poor Lucho succumbed. Chris shares her experience here.
'Leishmaniasis (leishmania) is a protozoal infection primarily transmitted by sandflies. It is a “wasting” disease which can be managed if treatment is begun early but relapses are common.
My second galgo, Lucho, was diagnosed with leishmaniasis several months ago. Leishmaniasis is rare in the U.S. where I live, but Lucho is from Spain where it is relatively common. Although he tested negative for the disease previously, I now know that it can lie dormant for years before clinical symptoms appear. If left untreated, it can develop into severe systemic disease, renal failure, and death.
Lucho is a tripod, having had his left rear leg amputated after some mishap on the streets before he was rescued, so when he began exhibiting increasing levels of pain upon moving, I attributed that to his old injuries. He was taking Rimadyl and Tramadol for the pain. He began losing weight, muscle mass, and then his appetite. His lymph nodes were enlarged, he had a chronic fever, but the most puzzling of his symptoms were the dry, scaly lesions developing on his legs and feet. Repeated bloodwork was unremarkable and antibiotics offered no improvement.
After some research I asked my veterinarian to look into the possibility of his having leishmaniasis. His titer was positive but the worse news was that the drug to treat leishmaniasis is not available in this country. Short of jumping through government hoops to get it, and who knew how long that could take, it seemed that all we could do for Lucho was to keep him comfortable for as long as possible.
I live several hours from Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine where they have a wonderful Greyhound Wellness Program run by Dr. Guillermo Couto, chief of oncology and hematology. Dr. Couto is a frequent visitor to the shelters in Spain, caring for the galgos, so I made an appointment to take Lucho to Ohio State to see Dr. Couto.
He confirmed the diagnosis but seemed very hopeful that it could be managed. He started Lucho on Allopurinol which lessened the uric acid in the joints which caused him so much pain. Within days he was no longer crying upon getting up or moving about and he became more active and playful. Dr. Couto also prescribed Domperidone which is effective in controlling the clinical symptoms of leishmaniasis and in reducing the antibody titer.
Lucho has been on this drug protocol for nearly two months now and is showing remarkable “recovery”. He is no longer taking Tramadol for pain and will return to Ohio State to see Dr. Couto for a recheck sometime next month.'
Thank you, Chris, for sharing your experience with us. Everyone will be keeping fingers crossed that Lucho continues to improve and recovers to live a long and happy life with you.
In my book, I recommend that dogs adopted from Spain are tested at regular intervals for leishmania, even if they test negative for their pet passport.
UK adoptants of galgos should also note that Allopurinol is not available there; people who have adopted Spanish dogs have had to return to Spain to obtain the medication. '