There are some diseases that are predominantly transmitted by ticks/sand flies living in the Mediterranean region. However, there are increasing cases of diseases in dogs that have demonstrably never left Germany, so it must be assumed that the so-called “Mediterranean” diseases have now also arrived in Central Europe.
All our dogs are tested for Mediterranean diseases depending on the region. If a dog tests positive for one or more of these diseases, this will be stated in the description and in the adoption contract of the dog. In case of a positive result, the therapy is already started in Spain and is usually completed before the dog comes to Germany. In these cases you will receive detailed information from us on the correct handling of these diseases.
Please keep the Mediterranean diseases in mind!
It is possible that the dog carries Leishmaniasis in spite of a negative first test, but the disease breaks out only years later. This does not necessarily happen, but it has happened in individual cases, so we would like to point this out and make you aware of it.
With timely therapy, all diseases are treatable, but it is imperative that the symptoms are recognized. Many veterinarians are not familiar with Mediterranean diseases, so unfortunately in some cases the early signs of a disease are not recognized and the dog is treated incorrectly.
Therefore, please be sure to note:
We expressly ask you to have a blood test (Mediterranean check) performed on your dog 4-6 months after its arrival in Germany. Even if the results are negative, we recommend annual blood tests to detect possible changes over time.
Pay careful attention to health changes in your dog and, in case of illness, have your veterinarian determine whether Mediterranean diseases can be safely ruled out as the cause. Ask your vet about his experience with Mediterranean diseases, and change to another doctor if necessary.
Please keep in mind that your dog can also become infected during a vacation stay in Southern Europe. You can get more information about protection against ticks and sandflies from your veterinarian.
Please contact us if your dog has been diagnosed with one of the Mediterranean diseases, because we are of course at your disposal at any time (even after adoption).
(Endemic areas: Mediterranean region, Southern Europe, North Africa)
Leishmaniasis is a serious disease in dogs, often fatal if it is not detected and treated in time. So-called sand or butterfly mosquitoes transmit tiny single-celled parasites (Leishmania infantum) to the dog with their bite, but not every infected dog falls ill. Many dogs carry the pathogen for life without health problems.
However, when the disease breaks out, there are fairly clear signs:
Rarely do these symptoms occur together – usually only some of them, and in different combinations. Therefore, it is all the more important to be attentive to the above symptoms and, to be on the safe side, visit the vet frequently rather than too late to get a clear diagnosis (blood test, titer).
Leishmaniasis is not curable, but treatable. Even a dog tested positive for leishmaniasis or suffering from it can lead a normal life with appropriate therapy.
(Endemic areas: from Central France southward, all European Mediterranean countries including Portugal)
Many dogs in Spain suffer from ehrlichiosis. This disease is usually transmitted by the widespread brown dog tick, hence its prevalence.
In ehrlichiosis, the pathogens multiply in cells of the immune system. Initially, the disease is manifested by dullness and poor performance, later bleeding (e.g., nosebleeds) occur. This should not frighten you, because Ehrlichiosis is very treatable if detected in time. The dog is given an antibiotic over a period of three to four weeks, after which ehrlichiosis is usually cured.
(Endemic areas: Germany, Mediterranean countries, Balkans, and tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and Asia)
Babesiosis is also called “canine malaria”. The pathogens of babesiosis are transmitted by ticks. They are protozoa that multiply in the red blood cells of the dog and destroy them. This causes, among other things, anemia and jaundice. Cell destruction is followed by severe immune reactions, which complicate the disease. Symptoms are high fever and pallor of the mucous membranes.
Five days to four weeks of time elapse between infection and onset of the disease. Babesiosis is usually treated with antimalarial drugs and is curable if detected in time.
(Endemic areas: Mediterranean region, Southern Europe, North Africa. Due to climate changes, filariasis may also occur in Southern Germany in the future.)
The transmission of this disease occurs through mosquitoes. The cause is roundworms that nestle under the skin, in connective tissue between organs, in lymph nodes, or in the heart or large blood vessels. Some females can grow up to 30 cm long. The disease is usually detectable in mild cases by coughing. The type of therapy depends on the degree of the disease. Most often, an agent to kill the adult worms and the microfilariae is administered; in severe cases, the worms must be surgically removed.
(Endemic areas: Central Europe)
Lyme disease is by far the most common tick-borne disease in Central Europe. Like humans, dogs can also fall ill, while cats seem to be immune to borrelia. Lyme disease in dogs usually manifests non-specifically – with a lack of movement, faintness or fever. Joint inflammations follow later. The infection with borrelia usually occurs after an infected tick has sucked blood for 12 to 24 hours. You should therefore regularly check your dog for ticks and carefully remove them with special tick forceps. If your dog has become infected with the pathogen, the disease is effectively treatable with an antibiotic.
(Endemic areas: Southern and Central Spain, Portugal, Canary Islands; rarely in Greece, Italy and France)
Hepatozoonosis was introduced in the Mediterranean region from Africa, and is transmitted by ingestion and digestion of the brown dog tick. Young and weakened dogs are especially susceptible. The pathogens pierce the intestinal wall, passing through the blood and lymph into the spleen, liver, bone marrow, and then into the muscles and lungs. The protozoa settle in the dog’s internal organs and bone marrow, altering them. Symptoms include: fever, loss of appetite, muscle weakness, muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes and bloody diarrhea. There is currently no single therapeutic regimen. The prognosis for affected dogs is uncertain and poorly understood, as some dogs recover spontaneously but others die.
Hepatozoonosis cannot be detected during the winter months of December and January. Thus, if symptoms fit the clinical picture of hepatozoonosis, but the test is done when the tick is dormant, there will be a false negative result. Hepatozoonosis often occurs in the company of co-infections. Therefore, it is imperative that a complete travel profile corresponding to the country of origin be obtained during diagnosis.
(Endemic areas: Sweden, Denmark, Norway, England, Germany, Holland, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, France, Northern Spain and Northern Italy)
Anaplasmosis is not a typical Mediterranean disease, because it is transmitted by the wood tick and is therefore mainly found in Northern Europe and a few parts of Central Europe. Only Northern Spain is still part of the endemic area. Anaplasmosis is easily treatable if detected in time. The dog receives an antibiotic over a period of three to four weeks and then the anaplasmosis is usually cured.
Translation: Myriam Wälde-Behning
Editing: Mary Jane O’Connor