Q. Is it dangerous to take dogs to Louisiana due to the chagas disease?
DESTINI R. HOLLOWAY, DVM
A. Chaga's disease is caused by the "kissing beetle" or Trypanosoma cruzi and it is not only found in Louisiana, but it predominantly found in Latin America, it can also be found in other southern states including South carolina, Virginia, Texas, etc.
So to answer your question if it is dangerous to take dogs to Louisiana because of this potential bug, yes but so are all the other staets that I mentioned above. But this not only affects pets, Chaga's disease can affect people as well and the effects can be severe and fatal in people and dogs alike.
There is a DNA vaccine that is being tested currently for the prevention of Chaga's disease but no known preventatives so far exist. No known flea/tick products will prevent infection either.
Even treatment for this disease is highly controversial and some drugs have been known to help but aren't as effective as we would like for them to be.
Most of the reported documents on Chaga's that are reported in the United States, there was found that most had recently traveled to Latin America. This is a nasty and life threatening disease and I hope to never have to encounter it in myself or my dog.
- Dr. H