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