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Pet owners warned about Chagas disease

 
Pet owners warned about Chagas disease
Posted Friday, September 20th 2013 @ 1pm

A tiny bug is causing big problems for San Antonio dogs.

Local vets are reporting a spike in Chagas disease.  It's a tiny parasite that's transmitted by the kissing bug.


(photo courtesy of the SA Humane Society)

"Because dogs like to eat bug, they go 'Hey! That looks good!' and swallow it and that's how they get contaminated," says Dr. Courtney Bridgeman at the Human Society.

The disease is more prevalent in South America, where it causes death in humans.  Here, she says, it's only a problem in pets... and the warning signs are tricky to spot.

"A sudden decrease in your pets activity level.  If they suddenly get a large belly, it's a symptom of heart failure."

Unfortunately, she says there is no cure for Chagas disease.  They're asking pet owners to try and keep their dogs inside or, if their dog house is outside, put it up off the ground so it's harder for them to see the bugs. 

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