Chagas disease is an infection with a parasitic protozoa called Trypanosoma cruzi. An insect that carries the protozoa in called a triatomine bug, commonly found in our area.
The triatomine bug is nocturnal and comes out at night to feast on the blood out of their sleeping victims, which includes humans and animals both. The bug typically feeds around the eyes or mouth (hence the name, the “kissing bug”). At the time of feeding, the bug defecates on the skin, releasing the parasite in its feces. The feces enters the skin through the bite or through mucous membranes.
Chagas can be life-threatening if left untreated, but treatment for Chagas is most effective in the early stages of the disease. Symptoms include fever and swelling where the bite took place. If left untreated, the infection can lead to complications with the heart, esophagus, and colon. Contact your health provider if you think you might infected or at risk.
Alternate ways of infection:
- Congenital transmission (pregnant mother to baby)
- Blood transfusion/Organ transplantation
- Accidental lab exposure
- Consumption of uncooked food or drinks contaminated with feces from infected bugs
Who is at risk:
- People living in substandard housing
- Animals living in/People who have animals living in collective animal housing (henhouse, stables)
- Do NOT touch the bug with bare, uncovered hands
- Any surfaces that come into contact with the bug can be disinfected with bleach or other common household disinfectants
- Insecticides can be used in the house and yard to target these bugs
- Screening blood donations for the disease
More information can be found online at:
By: Madison Cole
Giardia is a single-celled microscopic parasite that lives in your dog’s intestine. It is classified as an intestinal infection cause by the parasite Giardia Iamblia. The infection commonly infects older dogs, but more frequently infects young puppies.
Eww! How do dogs get Giardia?
Dogs develop the infection by ingesting the offspring of Giardia that are shed in another animal’s feces. Dogs become infected when they accidentally swallow the water source, or by eating something that has been contaminated by feces, like grass. Since dogs love to put things in their mouths, this means that there are plenty of ways your dog can pick up the parasite in his environment. Whether it is by chewing on a stick, eating someone else’s poop, or drinking from a puddle.
How will Giardia affect my dog?
Giardia in dogs does not always cause problems, but when it does it is highly unpleasant. Giardiasis, the disease caused by the Giardia infection, typically results in diarrhea. The parasite inhibits your dog’s ability to properly absorb nutrient, water, and electrolytes, which leads to weight loss, poor conditions, and even can lead to death. If you have concerns about your dog after spending a fun weekend at the beach, contact your Veterinarian to schedule an appointment.
Treatment is simple once diagnosed. This is one of the many reasons why fecal parasite screening is so important, along with semi-annual Veterinary exams for your pet. If your pet was diagnosed with Giardia, or any other type of intestinal parasite, be sure to clean up after them as soon as possible. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands as well after handling their stool. Preventative care is always the best way to avoid parasites and diseases!
By: Kimberly Delaney