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First report of venereal and vertical transmission of canine leishmaniosis from naturally infected dogs in Germany

Torsten J Naucke123* and Susanne Lorentz1

Author Affiliations

1 Parasitus Ex e.V., Vollbergstraße 37, Niederkassel 53859, Germany

2 Department of Zoology, Division of Parasitology, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart 70599, Germany

3 Laboklin GmbH & Co. KG, Steubenstraße 4, Bad Kissingen 97688, Germany

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Parasites & Vectors 2012, 5:67  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-5-67

Published: 1 April 2012



Canine leishmaniosis (CanL) is a zoonotic disease caused by Leishmania (L.) infantum. It is endemic to several tropical and subtropical countries but also to the Mediterranean region. It is transmitted by phlebotomine sandflies but occasional non-vector transmissions have been reported, including vertical and horizontal transmission.


The authors report a case of CanL in a female boxer dog from Dusseldorf, Germany, that had never been in an endemic region. A serum sample from the bitch was tested positive for antibodies against Leishmania (IFAT 1:2,000, ELISA 72). The bitch had whelped three litters, and one puppy from the third litter was also found to be seropositive for Leishmania antibodies (IFAT 1:4,000, ELISA 78).


Up to now, despite intensive searching, the occurrence of sandflies could not be proved in the bitch's region of origin. Thus, vertical and horizontal transmission are to be discussed as possible ways of infection. This may be the first report of venereal and vertical transmission of L. infantum in naturally infected dogs in Germany.

Leishmaniosis; Venereal transmission; Vertical transmission; Dog; Germany