Infection with Leishmania infantum promastigotes (group I) and amastigotes (group II) was evaluated over 32 weeks, using Syrian golden hamsters as an experimental model. Spleen cells strongly responded to the specific antigen at 12 (group I) and 16 weeks (group II) post-inoculation (p.i.) and lower stimulation index values coincided with the parasite burden peak. Western-blot analysis detected antibodies during the 1st week p.i. and the number of recognized proteins increased with the time of infection, reaching a maximum at the peak parasite burden. Histopathology revealed hypoplasia in spleen white pulp and the liver showed a periportal infiltration of inflammatory cells and small granulomas, becoming increasingly more severe as the infection developed. Both organs exhibited a secondary amyloid deposition at the end of the experiment, especially the spleen. In this study, progressive visceral disease was observed as in natural human and canine infections; however, the incubation period was longer in the promastigote than in the amastigote infection.