Did you know?
Hundreds of dogs have died from something called Chagas Disease, and there are many cases that have yet to be diagnosed and reported. In Texas alone, it’s estimated that the insects that transmit the awful disease are infected at a rate of 17 to 48 percent.
Chagas Disease is a very serious illness caused by a parasite known as Trypanosoma cruzi, or the “kissing bug.” Animals that live in South and Central America are particularly at risk of contracting Chagas, though we’ve started to see more cases in the southern United States. Since Chagas Disease is relatively new to the U.S. — and its initial symptoms can mimic those of other infections — it’s not uncommon for veterinarians to initially misdiagnose the disease. The telltale sign, however, is heart failure, inflammation of the heart, and/or other heart problems.
Read on so that you and your family can be prepared:
After being bitten by a kissing bug in Texas, Kiska was nearly on her deathbed; her heart was giving out. Since there is no cure, Kiska now lives with a pacemaker.
Kissing bugs are also known to bite humans, but Chagas Disease cannot be passed from dogs to humans. Young children or people with weakened immune systems are most at risk. Shortly after being bitten, acute symptoms of Chagas Disease may be swelling and/or redness at the skin infection site, rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever and nausea.