Author Topic: Kissing bugs and Chagas Disease in Dogs  (Read 1976 times)

Offline AnnStaub

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Kissing bugs and Chagas Disease in Dogs
« on: August 26, 2013, 01:25:57 AM »
So, I've heard of Chagas disease in dogs before and when I worked as a vet tech we treated at least one dog with it. It's a disease that dogs AND people can get from "kissing bugs". They are supposed to live further south, but have been moving into America lately.

I'm an Austin Pet Health Examiner and just got done writing an article about Chagas disease over there at this link - http://www.examiner.com/article/kissing-bugs-found-central-texas-could-carry-harmful-parasite-for-dogs

Anyways, I just found one of these kissing bugs in my room tonight and am freaked out now. I probably wouldn't have given the bug a second glance unless I had written that article last week. I've never seen one before and hope this was the last time! It has a very distinct pattern and I'm positive it's a kissing bug. It's hard to tell how big it is from the photo in the article, but it's approximately an inch long.

If you live in the South, keep an eye out for these things! For both you and your dog!

Offline DeeDee

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Re: Kissing bugs and Chagas Disease in Dogs
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2013, 10:18:23 AM »
WOW! Thank you for this information and taking time to write that article! I've never heard of the things before, and I hope I never see them here in Tennessee!

Do they think they'll migrate further north into the other southern states like fire-ants and Africanized-bees?
"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." Edward Hoagland
"Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog; but you're never friendless ever, if you have a dog."

Offline AnnStaub

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Re: Kissing bugs and Chagas Disease in Dogs
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2013, 03:18:44 PM »
Maybe one day... who knows with all this wacky weather these days. I am thinking about sending my bug to Texas A&M. I guess they are studying them to figure out how they live and stuff and seeing how many of the bugs carry the parasite T. cruzi.

I was reading a little about Chagas in people, which also sounds scary. Some people may have it for decades and not know it. It also affects human's heart and their intestines.

Offline DeeDee

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Re: Kissing bugs and Chagas Disease in Dogs
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2013, 03:28:07 PM »
I am thinking about sending my bug to Texas A&M. I guess they are studying them to figure out how they live and stuff and seeing how many of the bugs carry the parasite T. cruzi.


I'd send it in and ask them to please inform you if it was carrying the parasite after studying it. I'd want to know if the sick ones were around me considering the damage the parasite can do. Surely they can be nice enough to do that after you give them some research material?

I'd especially be afraid of it considering what you just said about humans!!! I mean, what about your skinkids especially!!!

"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." Edward Hoagland
"Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog; but you're never friendless ever, if you have a dog."

Offline AnnStaub

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Re: Kissing bugs and Chagas Disease in Dogs
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2013, 11:38:28 PM »
Yea, I need to remember to send it to them. I'm sure they'd share the information.

Sure, I worry about my dogs but honestly I worry more about my human family... hopefully it's just a one time thing and I never see one again!

I've been researching it more today and read that Chagas disease can come from other vectors besides these kissing bugs. I didn't really look too much into detail at the other vectors though since it was irrelevant for me. But it seems as though blood transfusions in humans or dogs is another way it can be passed along.

Offline Lola

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Re: Kissing bugs and Chagas Disease in Dogs
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2013, 05:36:42 AM »
Ann, thanks so much for sharing the info!!!  Hope all our members, living in Texas, read this thread! 

What are the odds that you would have just one hanging around?  :o

About an inch long... that is a fairly big sized bug. 
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Offline DeeDee

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Re: Kissing bugs and Chagas Disease in Dogs
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2013, 06:27:13 PM »
What are the odds that you would have just one hanging around?  :o

HA! I think those chances are slim and none!

Right after I read Ann's article (can't wait for the one tomorrow, Ann--yes I remember what you told us), I talked to someone else from TX whose friend found 5 of the nasty things.

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@CCCpetsitting 26 Aug

@furkidparent yes we send them in for testing here. I think but don't quote me TX A&M. That's why she bagged it. But there were 4 More! Ick

"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." Edward Hoagland
"Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog; but you're never friendless ever, if you have a dog."

Offline DeeDee

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Map Found for~~Re: Kissing bugs and Chagas Disease in Dogs
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2013, 02:57:43 PM »
I found a CDC map after Ann's extended blogpost. The map looks like more than just a small part of the US needs to watch out for these things. It's got info on all 11 of the species; photos; etc.:



http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/chagas/gen_info/vectors/

It also tells you what to do if you think you've found one of them:

Quote
I think I found a triatomine bug. What should I do?

Please do not touch or squash the bug. Place a container on top of the bug, slide the bug inside, and fill it with rubbing alcohol or, if not available, freeze the bug in the container. Then, you may take it to your local extension service, health department, or a university laboratory for species identification. In the event that none of these resources is available in your area, you may contact CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria (parasites@cdc.gov) for species identification or T. cruzi testing.
Any material containing bug parts or feces should also be submitted for testing, preferably in a plastic bag or clean sealable container. Surfaces that have come into contact with the bug should be cleaned with a solution made of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water (or 7 parts ethanol to 3 parts water)
"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." Edward Hoagland
"Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog; but you're never friendless ever, if you have a dog."

Offline AnnStaub

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Re: Kissing bugs and Chagas Disease in Dogs
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2013, 08:14:57 PM »
That's a pretty big map! I think there may also be some bugs other than kissing bugs that can transmit the disease. Another way dogs or people can get Chagas is with a blood transfusion.

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