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Mediterranean disease in dogs: symptoms and definition


"Mediterranean disease" is a collective term for a whole range of diseases that typically affect dogs in the Mediterranean. However, some of them have long since found their way into Central Europe. Since there are various infections, there are no symptoms for the Mediterranean disease itself. In addition, the dog is often infected with several pathogens at the same time and the symptoms often come to light much later.

Would you like to know whether your dog or a dog you want to adopt from abroad is suffering from the so-called Mediterranean disease? The real question is: "Does he suffer from one of many diseases that typically occur in South and Southeast Europe?" Below you will find an overview of the various diseases, which are often summarized as Mediterranean diseases, as well as their symptoms and diagnostic options.

Mediterranean disease: one name, many individual diseases

"Mediterranean disease" is not a medical category, but a slang term. The following diseases are summarized under the term:

● anaplasmosis
● Babesiosis (piroplasmosis)
● Lyme disease
● Ehrlichiosis (tick fever)
● Dirofilariosis (heartworm)
● hepatozoonosis
● Leishmaniasis
● Giardia

The diseases often have very non-specific symptoms, making them difficult to recognize. As a rule, specific blood tests are necessary to reliably detect an infection with a Mediterranean disease.

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Distribution area of ​​the Mediterranean disease

The Mediterranean disease is named after the area in which infections occur most frequently. In a broader sense, this means southern travel countries, which is why the Mediterranean diseases are classic travel diseases. Risk countries include:

● Bulgaria
● Greece
● Italy
● Canary Islands (La Palma, Tenerife)
● Crete
● (Southern) France
● Croatia
Macedonia
● Montenegro
● Portugal
● Romania
● Spain
● Sardinia
● Switzerland (Ticino)
● Serbia
● Sicily
● Turkey
● Hungary
● Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza)

However, people's great desire to travel has long since caused the diseases to migrate, so that some infections, which in the past were actually only common in the Mediterranean area, can now also affect dogs in Central and Northern Europe. In addition, the incubation times are sometimes so long that infection from dog to dog can also occur in Germany, because when crossing the border it was not yet clear that the animal was ill.

Difficult diagnosis of the Mediterranean disease

Not only are the symptoms sometimes very delayed, blood tests also sometimes only show six months later that there is an infection. In order to prevent the introduction of diseases, quarantine times of over six months would have to be observed, which is impossible for animal welfare reasons. Some of the Mediterranean diseases have always been native to Germany. They can only be found much less frequently here because the good medical care prevents them from spreading widely.

Mediterranean disease due to tick bite: symptoms

anaplasmosis may have the following symptoms:
● fever
● apathy
● Loss of appetite
● vomiting
● diarrhea
● inflammation of the joints
● lameness
● blindness

But don't worry: the immune system of a healthy dog ​​can cope with the disease well. The symptoms of this Mediterranean disease usually only break out if there is an immunodeficiency or great stress.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infectious disease that is widespread in Europe and affects humans and animals alike. Infection often goes unnoticed for a long time because the course of the disease is slow and insidious. In an acute, later phase, you can observe the following:
● Loss of appetite
● Reluctance to move
● fatigue
● High fever up to 40.5 ° C
● Lymphatic swelling

Ehrlichiosis (tick fever) will also be rickettsiosis mentioned and shows itself by the following complaints:
● fever
● Shortness of breath
● vomiting
● nosebleeds
● bleeding of the skin and mucous membranes
● Purulent, slimy discharge from the eyes
● Corneal opacity up to blindness
● Lymphatic swelling
● Organ damage
● weight loss

This Mediterranean disease often occurs together with babesiosis.

Hepatozoonosis is not caused by a tick bite, but by swallowing infected ticks. The pathogens first attack the muscles and later the intestine, which is manifested by the following symptoms:
● muscle pain
Inflammation of the muscles
● hobble and limp
● fever
● Bloody diarrhea
● weight loss

Complete healing is not possible.

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Mediterranean diseases caused by mosquito bites

Babesiosis (piroplasmosis) is also called dog malaria because the infection is caused by mosquitoes similar to human malaria. An infection by ticks is also possible. Visible symptoms are:
● Very high fever up to 42 ° C
● Rapid exhaustion
Anemia
● jaundice
● Red or greenish urine

The course is usually fatal.

Mosquitoes transmit the larvae of the Heartworm (Dirofilariosis)which affects the blood vessels in the heart and lungs. Symptoms are the result:
● Shortness of breath
● Chronic cough
● weight loss
● Heart and lung function disorders
● Damage to the liver and kidneys

A (sometimes surgical) treatment is possible, but very difficult and highly dangerous due to the worms in the heart chambers, which are up to 30 centimeters long.

leishmaniasis is transmitted by the bite of the sand and butterfly mosquito and leads to:
● Swollen lymph nodes
● Small, open skin areas
● Claw problems
● weight loss
● fatigue
● apathy

It is an immune disease that is fatal if left untreated.

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Infestation with parasites as a Mediterranean disease

In addition to the Mediterranean diseases in the narrower sense, parasites can also occur. In addition to the classics, mites, fleas, lice, worms and tapeworms are the main ones Giardia a common souvenir from warm countries.

The small intestine parasites pass on to the dog, for example, through water and feed that has been contaminated by infected faeces. Giardia can also be transmitted from dog to dog (for example by licking). With a healthy immune system, the disease is usually symptom-free. Especially in young or weak dogs, there is repeated diarrhea, which can sometimes be bloody, frothy or slimy. Weight loss, growth disorders and a dull coat are the result. Sometimes there is also inflammation of the skin.

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