High Risk of Chagas Disease for Dogs in a Kennel Environment

08/02/2021

CHF Grant 02448: Canine Chagas Disease: Characterizing Cardiac Abnormalities, Vector Infection and Control Strategies, and Parasite Strains in Kennel Environments

Publication:
Busselman, RE, Meyers, AC, Zecca, IB, Auckland, LD, Castro, AH, Dowd, RE, Curtis-Robles, R, Hodo, CL, Saunders, AB, Hamer, SA (2021). Unprecedented incidence of Trypanosoma cruzi infections in a cohort of dogs directly detected through longitudinal tracking at multi-dog kennels, Texas, USA. bioRxiv 2021.06.24.449798.  doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.24.449798

What can we learn?
Investigators studied the prevalence of Chagas disease in 64 matched dogs housed in 10 different kennels in Texas over a one-year period. 29 of 30 infected dogs remained positive on multiple serology and PCR tests over time. 10 of 34 negative dogs became positive during this one-year monitoring period. Overall, this means that a dog housed in these kennels has a 30.7% chance of becoming infected with Trypanosoma cruzi within a year, despite numerous methods employed to control kissing bug exposure.

Conclusion:
These data demonstrate a high risk for Chagas disease for dogs housed in multi-dog kennels in the southern US. Until successful prevention and treatment strategies are designed for the T. cruzi parasite, veterinarians and dog owners must focus on controlling exposure to the disease vector – kissing bugs.

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