03087: Epidemiology of Trypanosoma cruzi and Other Vector-borne Pathogens in Hunting Dogs in Virginia and West Virginia

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $50,018
Roger Ramirez-Barrios, DVM, MS, PhD; Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
February 1, 2023 - July 31, 2024

Sponsor(s): Golden Retriever FoundationĀ®

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Immunology and Infectious Disease
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One Health: Yes

Abstract

Chagas disease (CD), caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and transmitted by triatomine insects, is an emerging disease in the United States that affects both dogs and humans. The most severe disease, characterized by cardiac abnormalities, is seen during the chronic phase and may lead to sudden death. The triatomine species found in the US are associated with wildlife and therefore the dogs at the highest risk of infection are those that spend extensive amounts of time outdoors, such as hunting dogs. This dog population is also exposed to other arthropod vectors, which increases their risk of infection with other vector-borne pathogens. Although T. cruzi has been reported in some dog populations in southern US, there is a lack of information about the epidemiology of this parasite in hunting dogs in the other parts of the US where triatomines are endemic. This study proposes to assess the prevalence of and risk factors for T. cruzi infection and T. cruzi-associated cardiac abnormalities in hunting dogs in Virginia and West Virginia, at the edge of the triatomine range of endemicity in the southeastern United States. In addition, this study will evaluate the prevalence of disease agents transmitted by arthropods other than triatomines in the same dog population. Investigators hypothesize that T. cruzi and other vector-borne pathogens are more widespread in hunting dogs than is currently recognized, and that T. cruzi-infected dogs will have cardiac abnormalities.

Publication(s)

None at this time.

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