A Questionnaire-Based Survey on the Long-Term Management of Canine Leishmaniosis by Veterinary Practitioners

Maria A. Pereira, Rute Santos, Carmen Nóbrega, Cristina Mega, Rita Cruz, Fernando Esteves, Carla Santos, Catarina Coelho, João R. Mesquita, Helena Vala, Gabriela Santos-Gomes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Canine Leishmaniosis (CanL) is a chronic and potentially fatal disease. In economically disadvantaged regions, costs associated with long-term patient monitoring may determine that some owners decline veterinary follow-up of their dogs. This online, questionnaire-based survey aimed to assess how Portuguese veterinary practitioners perform long-term patient monitoring and recognize relapses. More than 50% of respondents reported that 50–100% of dog owners declared financial restraints. Hence, in these circumstances, most veterinary practitioners only performed clinical examination and serology. However, when owners did not declare financial restriction, other tests were additionally performed, such as renal and hepatic profiles, hemogram, serum protein electrophoresis and urine protein creatinine ratio. The mean number of exams performed when owners presented financial restraints was significantly lower than the number of exams performed without economic limitations. Most veterinary practitioners prescribed allopurinol ad aeternum or until disease remission and domperidone. CanL relapses were recognized by more than half of respondents “Always”, through the reappearance or worsening of clinical signs, whereas about a quarter detected an increase in anti-Leishmania antibody levels and identified abnormalities in the serum protein electrophoresis profile. The relapse rate was higher in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area and north, the most economically favored regions of Portugal. This study confirms that owner financial restraints negatively influence veterinary follow-up and relapse recognition, ultimately compromising clinical decision making and favoring the maintenance of Leishmania infantum infection endemicity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number731
JournalAnimals
Volume12
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • Canine leishmaniosis
  • Long-term treatment
  • Questionnaire
  • Relapse
  • Veterinary follow-up

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