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.

published proceedings

  • J Vet Intern Med

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

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

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Matthews, Derek J||Saunders, Ashley B||Meyers, Alyssa C||Gordon, Sonya G||Hamer, Sarah A

publication date

  • January 2021