KEY POINTS ABOUT FELINE LEISHMANIOSIS
- Leishmania infantum is most likely transmitted to cats by sand flies although blood transfusion may be a non-vectorial route of transmission. There is no currently available information on vertical transmission in cats as described in dogs.
- 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 CanL while clinical illness in cats is sporadic.
- Skin and mucocutaneous lesions, lymph node enlargement and hype rgammaglobulinemia are the most common clinical findings, followed by ocular and oral lesions, proteinuria, mild non-regenerative anemia.
- Infected cats can represent an additional domestic reservoir for L. infantum infection.
- Diagnosis is based on serological and parasitological techniques. Rapid tests validated to detect anti-L. infantum antibodies in cats are not available.
- 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 to prevent L. infantum infection in cats.