This Tiny Bug Can Instantly Kill Your Beloved Dog
If this tiny bug gets inside of a dog, it could be fatal.
MEET THE BUG:
This little sucker is known as a kissing bug. Dog owners, take note, because if you see this bug, you are going to want to keep an eye on your four-legged friend.
IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK
While the kissing bug sucks blood from dogs and even humans, this is not what makes the bug dangerous. In fact, they cause no pain and cannot get your dog sick from transferring blood.
HOW IT BECOMES FATAL
Kissing bugs carry a parasite known as Trypanosoma cruzi; which is a parasite that causes Chagas disease. Scientists at Texas A&M found that about 50% of kissing bugs are infected with the Chagas parasite, and this is what can make a dog extrememly sick or worse.
HOW A DOG CAN GET INFECTED
The parasite is transferred through the kissing bug's feces. However, if a dog eats the bug it can also be contracted that way.
SYMPTOMS OF CHAGAS DISEASE
In dogs, the Chagas parasite symptoms are:
- Heart Disease
- Heart problems
- Stomach issues
- Sudden death
*Many dogs are asymptomatic.
WHERE ARE KISSING BUGS FOUND?
- Areas with many dogs
Kissing bugs are attracted to the heat generated inside of a dog kennel.
How To Keep Kissing Bugs Away
There is no foolproof way to keep kissing bugs completely away. However, the team of Texas A&M scientists has put together a few ways you can adjust your environment to make it less appealing to these toxic and potentially deadly bugs.
- Reduce the chances of kissing bugs from sneaking into your home.
- Fill in any gaps around doors and baseboards, and mend any holes in window screens. Keep doors and windows closed if no screen is present.
- Make sure the exterior of your home is clean.
- Reduce the chances f wild animals hanging around. Clear out nests, bunches of brush or branches, and make sure trash is not left out. Kissing bugs feed on wild animals, and those same wild animals can carry the parasite that could be passed on to your family or furry friend.
- Turn off your outside lights at night, if safe.
- Like moths and mosquitoes, kissing bugs can be attracted to lights. If porch lights are on, kissing bugs might feel inclined to fly towards it and then crawl into a house.
- Work with a pest control company to discuss integrated pest management (IPM) strategies.
- Information about pesticide options can be found in Texas A&M's extension entomologist post HERE.