Cardiac diagnostic test results and outcomes in 44 dogs naturally infected with Trypanosoma cruzi Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: The protozoal parasite Trypanosoma cruzi causes myocarditis in dogs. OBJECTIVES: To describe the cardiac diagnostic test results and outcomes of dogs naturally infected with T. cruzi. ANIMALS: Forty-four client-owned dogs. METHODS: Medical records were retrospectively reviewed to identify dogs with an indirect fluorescent antibody test result for T. cruzi ≥1 : 80. Data collected included signalment, cardiac diagnostic test results (ECG, echocardiography, cardiac troponin I) and outcome. Outcomes were categorized as alive, dead (cardiac or noncardiac) or lost to follow up. RESULTS: ECG abnormalities were present in 41 dogs with ventricular arrhythmias (n = 28) and atrioventricular block (AVB) (n = 15) most commonly identified. Echocardiographic chamber enlargement was present in 28 dogs and most often included the right ventricle (RV) (n = 15) and left atrium (n = 12). Troponin was ≥2 times the reference range in 20/36 (56%) dogs. In univariate analysis using nonparametric Kaplan-Meier, ventricular arrhythmias with a modified Lown score ≥2 (P = .02), presence of AVB (P = .04), and RV enlargement (P = .006) were associated with decreased survival times. Right ventricular enlargement (HR 3.6; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4-9.3; P = .007) and higher body weight at presentation (HR 1.0; 95% CI 1.0-1.1; P = .04) were associated with decreased time to death in the final explanatory multivariable model. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Cardiac abnormalities were common and variable, and RV enlargement was associated with shorter survival time. A diagnostic evaluation that includes screening for arrhythmias, echocardiography, and cTnI can provide useful information related to the characterization of heart disease in dogs seropositive for T. cruzi.

author list (cited authors)

  • Matthews, D. J., Saunders, A. B., Meyers, A. C., Gordon, S. G., & Hamer, S. A.

publication date

  • January 1, 2021 11:11 AM