This study investigated the sero-conversion period in which dogs from endemic areas test positive for visceral leishmaniasis (VL) as well as the early post-infection period in which renal alterations are observed. Dogs that were initially negative for Canine Visceral Leishmaniasis (CVL) were clinically evaluated every three months by serological, parasitological and biochemical tests until sero-conversion was confirmed, and six months later a subsequent evaluation was performed. Samples of kidney tissues were processed and stained with Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E), Periodic Acid Schiff (PAS) and Massons trichrome stain and lesions were classified based on the WHO criteria. Of the 40 dogs that initially tested negative for VL, 25 (62.5%) exhibited positive serological tests during the study period. Of these 25 dogs, 15 (60%) tested positive within three months, five (20%) tested positive within six months and five (20%) tested positive within nine months. The dogs exhibited antibody titers between 1:40 and 1:80 and 72% of the dogs exhibited clinical symptoms. The Leishmania antigen was present in the kidneys of recently infected dogs. We found higher levels of total protein and globulin as well as lower levels of albumin in the infected dogs when compared to the control dogs. Additionally, infected dogs presented levels of urea and creatinine that were higher than those of the uninfected dogs. Glomerulonephritis was detected in some of the dogs examined in this study. These data suggest that in Teresina, the sero-conversion for VL occurs quickly and showed that the infected dogs presented abnormal serum proteins, as well as structural and functional alterations in the kidneys during the early post-infection period.
Visceral Leishmaniasis; Seroconversion; Dogs; Kidney