Trypanosoma cruzi discrete typing unit TcIV implicated in a case of acute disseminated canine Chagas disease. Academic Article uri icon


  • In 2006, Nabity et al. reported on an atypical presentation of Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi) infection in an 8-month old English Mastiff from central Texas. Clinical signs and laboratory findings included lymphadenopathy, weight loss, amastigotes in lymph node aspirates, and initial serological results suggestive of either T. cruzi or Leishmania infection. Given the poor prognosis, the dog was euthanized and subsequent testing and culture of parasites from a lymph node revealed T. cruzi infection. Because different parasite discrete typing units (DTUs) are potentially associated with different disease outcomes in a variety of mammalian hosts, an understanding of these relationships in naturally infected dogs may be useful for informing canine prognosis and may also have human health implications. Here, we compared strains using culture versus culture-independent methods. We subjected archived cultured parasites harvested from the lymph node in the infected Mastiff to two independent approaches for determining parasite DTU, including sequencing of the TcSC5D gene and use of DTU-specific qPCR probes to hybridize the nuclear spliced leader intergenic region (SL-IR). Both approaches revealed T. cruzi discrete typing unit TcIV. Testing of multiple other tissues directly without culturing, including heart/tongue, intestine, trachea/lymph nodes, and uterus/ovary, provided further evidence of disseminated TcIV infection in this dog. We report T. cruzi DTU TcIV as the cause of a severe disseminated infection in a dog from an area with triatomine vectors in central Texas, adding to the limited body of clinicopathologic data that links specific parasite strains to disease outcomes in dogs in the US. Future studies to type parasites from asymptomatic dogs and those with diverse disease manifestations will be useful in informing the degree to which parasite genetics is associated with disease presentation and severity. If applied to antemortem samples, diagnostic typing of parasites from infected dogs may assist in determining prognosis.

published proceedings

  • Vet Parasitol Reg Stud Reports

author list (cited authors)

  • Curtis-Robles, R., Auckland, L. D., Hodo, C. L., Snowden, K. F., Nabity, M. B., & Hamer, S. A.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Curtis-Robles, R||Auckland, LD||Hodo, CL||Snowden, KF||Nabity, MB||Hamer, SA

publication date

  • January 2018