Ever heard of “kissing bugs”? These bugs have recently been found throughout South and Central Texas, and there is nothing sweet about them. They carry a parasite that can cause a disease called Chagas, a parasitic virus, which can be transmitted to both dogs and humans a variety of ways. The most common ways dogs can become infected is by eating an infected kissing bug, exposure to the bug’s feces after the bud bites, or through blood transfusion.
Generally, the age of the dog determines the severity of the disease. The acute form of this disease is usually found in younger dogs while the chronic form mostly affects older dogs. A dog with an acute infection can experience diarrhea, depression, exercise intolerance, seizures and swollen lymph nodes. Dogs with a chronic infection are likely to experience weakness, fainting, and increased heart rate.
Doctors and veterinarians are still trying to determine the best treatment for the conditions and the precise symptoms of Chagas Disease. Because of the severity of Chagas, dogs should be checked by a veterinarian.