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A Study on Endemic Areas Exposes Parasitic Infections in Dogs Affected by Cancer

a scientists holds a petri dish with a red gelly and shows bacteria formation

Veterinary Specialists and Researchers in Brazil evidenced again the potential connection between parasites and malignant disorders affecting the animal and human world. 

Neoplasms - abnormal tumoral growths - affect a significant portion of dogs, constituting up to 83% of all canine malignancies. Canine leishmaniasis, caused by the parasite Leishmania infantum, is endemic in regions like Brazil, East Africa, and India. The study indicates that the geographical occurrence of both neoplasms and leishmaniasis may imply the coexistence of these two diseases within the same tissue samples in dogs.

The researchers demonstrated clinical cases where Leishmania parasites tested positive in dogs diagnosed with transmissible venereal tumors (TVT), cutaneous large-cell lymphoma, cutaneous TVT, and splenic hemangiosarcoma. 

Several theories are proposed, including the chronic inflammation induced by Leishmania, interference with the local immune system, and direct implications of the parasite in cancer pathogenesis. While still hypothetical, the study suggests that leishmaniasis may impact clinical manifestation, diagnosis, treatment protocols, and outcome of various malignant disorders. It also highlights the impact of Leishmania infection on organs like the liver, spleen, kidney, and skin, as well as alterations in hematological and biochemical parameters such as anemia, thrombocytopenia, hyperproteinemia, and liver function abnormalities, some well-documented symptoms and consequences of hemangiosarcoma as well.

The issue with the clinical presentation of leishmaniasis is it may mimic malignancies, leading to misdiagnosis. A more accurate diagnosis process becomes crucial, especially considering the diverse clinical forms of leishmaniasis. Molecular tests like PCR can offer greater precision in identifying the parasite DNA, reducing the risk of misdiagnosis.

A deeper study of this complex interplay is needed for effective treatment and correct diagnosis, both in human and veterinary medicine, particularly in endemic regions. Understanding can guide clinicians better in navigating the diagnoses and treatments of affected patients.


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