KEY POINTS ABOUT FELINE LEISHMANIOSIS
- Leishmania infantum is most likely transmitted to cats by sandflies although blood transfusion may be a non-vectorial route of transmission.
- The prevalence of L. infantum infection in cats is commonly lower than that of canine infection in endemic areas but often not negligible.
- Cats seem to be more resistant than dogs to L. infantum infection and subclinical feline infections are common in areas endemic for canine leishmaniosis while clinical illness in cats is rare.
- Skin lesions, lymph node enlargement and hypergammaglobulinemia are the most common clinical findings, followed by ocular and oral lesions, proteinuria, non-regenerative anemia
- Infected cats may represent an additional domestic reservoir for L. infantum infection.
- Diagnosis is based on serological and parasitological techniques.
- Currently, treatment is empirically based on some drugs used also for dogs.
- Most pyrethroids are toxic for cats and only flumethrin collars are safe to be used.