Warning to dog owners after pet dies from tropical disease which can also affect humans

The three-year-old dog had never left the UK (stock image, Getty)

A dog has died after contracting subtropical disease leishmaniasis in what’s thought to be the first ever case involving a UK pet.

The three-year-old Shih Tzu is believed to have contracted the disease from a dog it was living with who had come to the UK from Spain.

That dog had to be put down six months ago after developing a severe case of leishmaniasis.

The disease is spread by the bite of certain types of sandflies which aren’t found in the UK and the Shih Tzu – who lived in Hertfordshire and had never left the country before – developed a range of symptoms over a three week period, including weight loss, vomiting and diarrhoea.

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While humans can also contract leishmaniasis, the disease cannot be transmitted directly from dog to person or vice versa. Dogs can pass it to one another by biting, however.

The Shih Tzu was examined by a team at the Royal Veterinary College in Hatfield who said that they believed this to be the first reported case of leishmaniosis in the UK in a dog without a history of travel to an endemic area.

Writing in the BMJ journal Vet Record, they said that in an era of increased foreign travel of dogs, w’re likely to see more of these sorts of cases.

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