Two cases of canine leishmaniasis associated with systemic necrotizing vasculitis are described. The main macroscopic lesions were haemorrhagic in type; histopathological changes confirmed a vascular lesion affecting small arteries of several organs (skin, intestinal tract, kidney, urinary bladder, mesenteric lymph nodes, adrenal gland, myocardium, lung, eye and choroid plexus). The presence of the parasite was confirmed with a specific immunocytochemical stain. The possibility of an immunological aetiology of the vasculitis and its classification is discussed. © 1991, Academic Press Limited. All rights reserved.