A friend of mine sent me this information about a disease that he has had first hand experience with. My friend and his wife raise beef master cattle and have been retriever enthusiasts for many years. Miraculously they were able to diagnosis his dog, Punch early but as my friend states there is no cure. When I read this I became very concerned and wanted to share this valuable information with you. I will continue to update and post potential repellents as I research this fatal threat to our dogs.
I am sending this note out to a cross section of my dog and cattle friends. The Austin American Statesman ran an article this morning on the front page which I want to share with you. I have attached a copy for you to read. The article discusses the disease Chagas.
As some of you may know, my dog Punch died last month from this disease. He was diagnosed with the disease about two years ago and through heroic efforts we were able to give him two additional years of quality life through the use of strong heart medications and by importing benzidazole from Brazil. There is no medication available in the United States for treatment of this disease. I believe that this disease is under diagnosed in the United States as the attached article implies. Over the past two years I have heard stories of retrievers dropping dead after training. The reported cause was “heart attack” which is probably true but I suspect the underlying cause was Chagas. Typically people do not have necropsies performed so the cause is never discovered.
Many of you live in or visit the southern states with your dogs. Keep a close eye out for the beetle pictured below. The beetle is about an inch long with distinctive orange stripes around the edge of the hind section. Usually the orange is more pronounced than shown in this picture. We have found about six of these guys around our house during the last two years. We’ve sent them off to CDC for testing. About half carried the protozoa (Trypanosoma cruzi) in their hind gut which is what causes the disease. Dogs, especially puppies, will eat an infected beetle. The protozoa enters the dog’s blood stream through the stomach.
I suggest fogging kennel buildings occasionally. I bought a Bonide Fogger at Tractor Supply which is relatively easy to use and very effective. Do not leave kennel lights on at night. The beetles can fly over a mile to reach lighted areas at night.
We believe the blood banks are now testing for the disease regularly so the chance of transmission to humans through transfusion has been reduced. It is believed that some incidence of blood contamination was occurring at blood banks collecting blood from migrants carrying the disease from South America countries.
I hope this disease never affects you or your dogs. I wanted to raise your awareness…..
Please see the Link for the full story in the Austin Statesman