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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To describe the clinical presentation and outcome in dogs diagnosed with Trypanosoma cruzi infection in nonendemic areas and to survey veterinary cardiologists in North America for Chagas disease awareness.

ANIMALS

12 client-owned dogs; 83 respondents from a veterinary cardiology listserv.

PROCEDURES

A retrospective, multicenter medical records review to identify dogs diagnosed with American trypanosomiasis between December 2010 and December 2020. An anonymous online survey was conducted August 9 to 22, 2022.

RESULTS

Diagnosis was made using indirect fluorescent antibody titer (n = 9), quantitative PCR assay (1), or postmortem histopathology (2). Time spent in Texas was < 1 year (n = 7) or 2 to 8 years (5). Time in nonendemic areas prior to diagnosis was < 1 year (n = 10) and > 3 years (2). Eleven had cardiac abnormalities. Of the 12 dogs, 5 had died unexpectedly (range, 1 to 108 days after diagnosis), 4 were still alive at last follow-up (range, 60 to 369 days after diagnosis), 2 were euthanized because of heart disease (1 and 98 days after diagnosis), and 1 was lost to follow-up. Survey results were obtained from 83 cardiologists in North America, of which the self-reported knowledge about Chagas disease was limited in 49% (41/83) and 69% (57/83) expressed interest in learning resources.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results highlight the potential for encountering dogs with T cruzi infection in nonendemic areas and need for raising awareness about Chagas disease in North America.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association