Dogs Face Major Threat: Kissing Bugs



“We had a half-dozen dogs - Labs, pointers - die: They’d just fall over,” Berdon Lawrence said. “Nobody knew what was going on.”

Lawrence, a Houston businessman, raised dogs to quail hunt when he started noticing his dogs acting strange.

“The pointer was working quail and just fell over, dead,” Lawrence said. “It didn’t make any sense.”

Highly concerned he sent his deceased dogs to the Texas A&M Veterinary Diagnostic Lab for a necropsy. The results? Horrifying.

“The diagnosis came back as a heart attack caused by Chagas disease.” he said.

“Chagas disease is hardly an unknown malady. The disease long has been a major human health issue in Mexico, Central and South America, where it is estimated to infect as many as 8 million people and annually cause as many 25,000 human deaths.”

The disease is carried by insects, mainly by the genus Triatoma. Better known as the “Kissing Bug”.

“The problem is not confined to South Texas. Half of the kissing bugs collected in Kerr County of Central Texas tested positive for the parasite.”

Since there is no cure, prevention is the best key. By screening the fences, the deaths among dogs have decreased.

“These are the tactics Berdon Lawrence pursued on his South Texas ranch. They installed screens around the chain-link fence kennels. They cleared vegetation from around the kennel and regularly applied insecticide around the perimeter.”

Since the new changes, only one dog has died due to Chagas disease on the land of Berdon Lawrence.

“Chagas disease is a problem,” Lawrence said. “The good news is, if you know about it, you can do something about it.”


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