By Alex Boyer
Read More at: http://www.keyetv.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/disease-spread-through-bug-killing-dogs-texas-20834.shtml
Buddy and his dad were out for a walk when all of a sudden the nine-year-old dog suffered a heart attack. "We got around the corner and he sort of collapsed on us," recalled John Hagle. Hagle and his wife rushed Buddy to the pet hospital. After enduring countless tests the Hagles found out Buddy's heart attack was caused by Chagas. "We did some internet searching to find out what we could about it," said Hagle. Chagas disease is caused by a parasite spread through the "kissing" bug. Dogs can get the deadly disease one of two ways. "Most dogs get infected either by eating the bug or when the bug bites them and passes fecal material into the wound," said Austin Pets Alive Veterinarian Kristen Kjellberg. Dr. Kjellberg said many Veterinarians misdiagnosis Chagas because it's a relatively new disease and initial symptoms can mimic that of other infections. Plus most dog owners have never heard of it. Kjellberg said a telltale sign of Chagas infection is problems with the heart. "This bug is going into your cells and exploding your cells spreading parasites instead of cells that you need," added Kjellberg. The Texas Department of State Health is seeing the highest concentration of infection in Bee County. But Hays and Travis counties are reporting problems too. Buddy's on the list but he's a survivor. "The doctors keep saying keep him quiet, yeah well good luck with that," said Hagle. Veterinarians say the best way you can protect your dog, is to take the dog inside at night. For information on how you can help with "kissing" bug research, CLICK HERE.