When you hear the word “bugs,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? It will probably be the ones you grew up around the most. What about bugs that affect dogs and children? Maybe it will be ticks, fleas, and lice, right? Well, believe it or not, it is not the biggest threat to them. There’s another bug that could potentially cause more devastation and even loss of lives.
While most bugs are harmless, they cannot really hurt a human being, even if we are talking about spiders. However, there’s one bug which is more than just a pest for people living in Texas. The bug has a very interesting name: they’re called “kissing bugs.” I know, kissing bugs must be friendly, right? I mean, they are kissing, how bad can the problem be? Well, they are actually known by another name, too: “The Assassin Bug.”
The Assassin bug can cause the spread of a disease that has recently been targeting Americans called: American Trypanosomiasis, or “Chagas Disease.” This is a disease that hundreds of dogs have died from. It is a rare parasitic disease and in Texas alone, about 400 dogs have died from it.
Chagas disease is caused by Trypanosoma Cruzi, it’s a very well-known parasite. It is carried by the “Kissing Bug” and later spreads through the bugs’ feces. These bugs feed mainly on blood, usually from around the eyes and mouth of a sleeping pet. Then, it gets passed on when the fecal material gets rubbed into one of the bite wounds or into a mucous membrane. Dogs usually contract the disease when they eat the bugs.
Chagas is a disease known as a “silent killer.” Like many other diseases, people and pets who have it, usually are not aware that they are. When they start having symptoms and become aware of it, they are already in the last stages of the disease. It is here where it attacks the heart muscles and leads to heart failure. By the time they are here, it is too late for treatment.
Symptoms of this disease usually take place after a bite from an “Assassin Bug,” and they include massive swelling of the eyelids, and even anaphylactic shock. The latter one can cause asphyxiation and eventually death. This disease is difficult to diagnose because the initial symptoms might be confused with those of the flu, so many people’s condition gets worse very fast.
But what can you do to prevent this? For starters, you can watch this video, so you can get a better idea of what it is. You can also share it with your friends and family. It is never too late to save a life!