02632: Canine Chagas Disease: Characterizing Cardiac Disease and Developing Screening Recommendations for Asymptomatic Dogs Seropositive for Trypanosoma cruzi

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $65,691
Ashley B. Saunders, DVM; Texas A&M AgriLife Research
June 1, 2019 - May 31, 2022

Sponsor(s):

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Cardiology
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Abstract

Chagas disease (Trypanosomiasis) is caused by a parasite that infects the heart of humans and dogs in the United States causing heart disease and acute death. It is transmitted by kissing bugs, and there is no vaccination or approved treatment. Dogs in the Southern U.S. have a higher risk of parasite infection, and while all dog breeds can be affected, non-sporting, toy and herding breed groups are over-represented. Currently, there is only one commercially available test for Chagas disease in dogs and not all dogs with a positive test will develop clinical signs of disease. Characterization of the heart disease and recommendations for screening naturally infected dogs do not exist and veterinarians and owners are forced to make decisions about the health of their dog based on the currently available test results. This study will evaluate asymptomatic dogs with a positive Chagas test to characterize the presence of heart disease using electrocardiography ultrasound of the heart, and cardiac troponin I, a non-invasive biomarker of heart injury. Additionally, other Chagas tests will be evaluated as potential additional tests to confirm Chagas disease. Results will provide useful information to help owners and veterinarians screening dogs for evidence of heart problems associated with Chagas disease and will expand knowledge of the natural history of this disease in dogs.

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