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#Health      

This Invasive Insect Is Deadly To Dogs, Here's What To Look For

Here's a quick introduction to the "Kissing Bug." It has a few other popular names too; like: "The Assassin Bug." Kissing doesn't sound so bad, but it's nickname of Assassin Bug probably has you concerned: and it should. This insect, scientific name: Triatominae, is a carrier of Chagas Disease. Chagas is a deadly disease, previously only of concern south of the border. 

 

 

 

As temperatures have risen and these insects get more cold hardy, they've been migrating north into the southern United States. Hundreds of dogs have died from the parasitic disease that is carried by the Assassin Bug. In fact, nearly 400 dogs have died in the state of Texas alone. Chagas Disease is caused by a parasite known as Trypanosoma cruzi. The parasite is carried by the bug and is spread by it's feces.

 

 

Here's where things get gross. This insect feeds on blood, usually around the mouth, hence the name "Kissing Bug," but also sometimes around the eyes of dogs (and humans) while they sleep. The disease is spread when the bug’s fecal matter gets into the wound from it's bite, or onto a mucous membrane. It can also be transmitted if a dog ingests the bug. Chagas is notoriously symptom free until the disease has advanced, and sometimes, until it has already started to attack the heart, making it too late to treat. This can lead to heart failure, a potentially deadly condition. At first the symptoms usually start as mild, flu-like symptoms. Aches, pains, fatigue. This is the stage where immediate medical treatment can save lives. If this state of symptoms are missed, other symptoms may start to show, such as the swelling of the eyelids and even anaphylactic shock. Anaphylactic shock is what happens during extreme allergic reactions and it can be fatal without immediate emergency treatment, like an injection with an Epi-Pen and a trip to the ER.

 

 

 

Triatominae aka The Kissing Bug, can be found in almost every southern state and some are being reported in midwestern states as well. They are often found living near homes, chicken coups and around a dog's outdoor quarters. They like to live near their food source. As mentioned before, chagas disease can be spread from Triatominae to humans as well. To learn more about the spread of Chagas Disease, please visit the CDC’s website. The story in the video posted was made just as Chagas and the Triatominae migrated into the U.S. If you or your dog are exhibiting signs of Chagas, seek medical assistance immediately.

 

 

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