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Vida Animal Health

Meet some of our patients!
Each one’s story is unique. But they all have been successfully treated for Chagas disease.
read their stories

What should I look for?

Chagas primarily causes severe heart failure or arrhythmia in dogs, because the parasite invades heart muscle tissue. Death can occur at any stage of the disease. Dogs less than a year old tend to develop serious, sudden cases of heart failure, while older dogs will develop heart disease if they do not die suddenly.

Symptoms include:

  • Depression or lethargy
  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Seizures
  • Weakness or difficulty walking
  • Increased heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Anemia
  • Swollen lymph nodes, liver, or spleen


Your veterinarian will likely perform a complete blood profile, urinalysis, serology, and electrolyte panel to identify possible parasite infection. The examination might also include an echocardiogram, ultrasound, or radiograph to look for signs of heart and pulmonary disease. Testing—an Indirect Immunofluorescence Assay (IFA) test—is used to analyze your pet’s blood for antibodies against the parasite. Vets use this highly sensitive screening tool to identify dogs with Chagas disease.

If you live in an area that is not prone to kissing bugs, your veterinarian might not be familiar with Chagas in dogs. If you have reason to suspect exposure to kissing bugs or Chagas-infected wildlife, be sure to provide details of the possible exposure.


To minimize the risk of your dog’s exposure to kissing bugs and Chagas:

  • Keep dogs inside areas that are free from kissing bugs, such as the house or a garage, at night
  • If possible, make sure yard lights are not close to the house, because lights can attract the bugs
  • Remove wood, brush, and rock piles near your house
  • Seal cracks and gaps around windows, walls, roofs, and doors, and use screens on doors and windows of house, garage, or kennels
  • Keep house and outdoor pet resting areas clean
  • Routinely check areas for kissing bugs
  • Spray kennels and other pet areas with pet-friendly insecticides


Vida Pharmacal is developing the first antiparasiticide that has been tested to treat Chagas in dogs. The drug is given daily, taken orally for 12 months. During treatment, the vet monitors the parasite through blood tests.

A Treatment for Canine Chagas

Vida Pharmacal has been developing a treatment for Chagas over the past 11 years. During that time, we’ve tested it extensively in dogs, monkeys, and marine mammals. The drug will be submitted for review by Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM)—a division of the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—for veterinary use.

Learn more here:
Investigation of a combination of amiodarone and itraconazole for treatment of American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) in dogs, JAVMA, August 1, 2019

Canine Chagas: Heartworm Disease of the 21st Century

PCR Monitoring of Parasitemia During Drug Treatment for Canine Chagas Disease, Sage Journals

Canines, Treated

Testing Every Rescue

Testing Every Rescue In 2007, a rescue dog, Max, presented us with our first case of Chagas disease. Although Max succumbed to the disease, his death launched us on the journey to find a cure. Thirteen years later, the tables are turning. Tracy’s Paws Rescue is the first (that we know of) rescue organization to test incoming dogs for Chagas disease. Located in Hondo, Texas, Tracy’s Paws rescues dogs with pending euthanasia dates from shelters[...]

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Summer, Storm, and Aspen

Summer’s litter of puppies had been planned for three years. Lori, her owner and breeder, reviewed five years of OFA testing data on potential studs, had complete health workups for all of her own dogs, and did everything with scrupulous attention to detail. Seven strong healthy pups were born on Easter Sunday, 2017: Storm (right in photo), Rain, Cassie, Rhythm, Cairo, Zoe, and Aspen. Everything was great until three months later, when puppies began falling mysteriously ill.

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A “hoosier” as his owners affectionately call him, Remy was born in Indiana and came to live with his owners in Louisville, KY. After several moves, they retired to Canyon Lake, TX and settled in happily. After several months, Ann noticed that Remy had begun panting constantly. He was having difficulty keeping his normal pace on walks. When Ann took him to their vet, Dr. Madigan, they tested for several possible conditions, including Chagas.

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Doing the dinner dance

Alsace and her younger sister Harlan love dinner. Turn down food? Unthinkable. Every evening the two dogs wag, wiggle, and throw in a few shimmies while Janelle and Kent prepare their bowls. Then it’s a sashay and race to the back yard for the grand finale. In late 2016, the dinner dance was in full swing when suddenly, Alsace collapsed to the ground.

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