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Research (Published online: 22-06-2016)

16. Prevalence, type, and prognosis of ocular lesions in shelter and owned-client dogs naturally infected by Leishmania infantum - Simona Di Pietro, Valentina Rita Francesca Bosco, Chiara Crinò, Francesco Francaviglia and Elisabetta Giudice

Veterinary World, 9(6): 633-637



   doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2016.633-637



Simona Di Pietro: Department of Veterinary Science, University of Messina, Polo Universitario Annunziata, 98168 Messina, Italy;

Valentina Rita Francesca Bosco: DVM, Veterinary Medical Centre S. Chiara, Viale Vittorio Veneto, 96014 Floridia (SR), Italy;

Chiara Crinò: Department of Veterinary Science, University of Messina, Polo Universitario Annunziata, 98168 Messina, Italy;

Francesco Francaviglia: DVM, Local Public Health Unit (ASP) of Palermo, Via G. Cusmano 24, 90141, Palermo, Italy;

Elisabetta Giudice: Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Environmental Sciences, University of Messina, Viale F. Stagno d’Alcontres 31, 98168 Messina, Italy;


Received: 24-11-2015, Accepted: 19-05-2016, Published online: 22-06-2016


Corresponding author: Simona Di Pietro, e-mail:

Citation: Di Pietro S, Bosco VRF, Crinò C, Francaviglia F, Giudice E (2016) Prevalence, type, and prognosis of ocular lesions in shelter and owned-client dogs naturally infected by Leishmania infantum, Veterinary World, 9(6): 633-637.

Aim: The point prevalence of ocular lesions due to leishmaniasis was evaluated in 127 dogs living in a municipal shelter placed in a highly endemic area (Sicily, Italy). Moreover, the period prevalence, the type, and prognosis of lesions due to leishmaniasis were evaluated in 132 dogs with ocular pathologies referred to a Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) in the same endemic area over a 3-year period.

Materials and Methods: All the dogs were submitted to ophthalmological examination. The diagnosis of leishmaniasis was made by cytological, serological (immune-fluorescent antibody test), and molecular (quantitative polymerase chain reaction) tests.

Results: The point prevalence of ocular lesions in 45 shelter dogs with leishmaniasis was 71.11% (45/127 dogs). The most frequent ocular lesion was blepharitis (50%) while anterior uveitis was observed in only 9.37% of cases. The period prevalence of ocular lesions due to leishmaniasis in the VTH group was 36.36% (48/132 dogs). In both groups, most of the lesions were bilateral and involved the anterior segment. Anterior uveitis was the most frequent ophthalmic finding in client-owned dogs (37.50%), but it occurred in only 9.37% of the shelter dogs. Keratouveitis often occurred during or after antiprotozoal treatment (14.58%; 7/48). In this study, the healing of eye injury following systemic antiprotozoal treatment was recorded in about half of cases (48%; 12/25 dogs), in which follow-up was possible. In more than 1/3 of cases (36%; 9/25), there was an improvement, but it was necessary to associate a long-term topical treatment; most of them, as well as those who had not responded to systemic therapy (16%; 4/25), had anterior uveitis or keratoconjunctivitis sicca.

Conclusions: Ocular manifestations involve up to 2/3 of animals affected by canine leishmaniasis and lesions account for over 1/3 of ophthalmic pathologies observed at a referral clinic in an endemic area. The occurrence of anterior uveitis is more frequent in client-owned dogs than in shelter dogs. The onset of keratouveitis during or after antiprotozoal treatment could be attributed to the treatment or to a recurrence of the systemic form. The post-treatment uveal immune reaction, already observed in humans, could explain the difference in the frequency of keratouveitis between client-owned and shelter dogs, which have never been treated.

Keywords: dog, follow-up, leishmaniasis, ocular lesions, post-treatment uveitis.

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