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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

Print version ISSN 0074-0276On-line version ISSN 1678-8060

Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz vol.87 no.1 Rio de Janeiro Jan./Mar. 1992 

Experimental Chagas' disease in dogs

Marta de Lana1 

Egler Chiari2 

Washington L. Tafuri3 

Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Escola de Farmácia, Departamento de Análises Clínicas, Ouro Preto, Brasil

UFMG, ICB, Departamento de Parasitologia, Belo Horizonte, Brasil

UFOP, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Ouro Preto, Brasil


This paper describes the development of experimental Chagas' disease in 64 out-bred young dogs. Twenty-nine animals were inoculated with the Be-62 and 35 with Be-78 Trypanosoma cruzi strains. Twenty-six were infected with blood trypomastigotes by different inoculation routes and 38 with metacyclic trypomastigotes from the vector via the conjunctival route. Twenty of the 26 dogs infected with blood trypomastigotes were autopsied during the acute phase. Eleven died spontaneously and nine were sacrificed. Six remained alive until they died suddenly (two) or were autopsied (four). Twelve of the 38 dogs infected with metacyclic trypomastigotes evolved naturally to the chronic phase and remained alive for 24-48 months. The parasitemia, clinical aspects and serology (IgM and IgG) as well as electrocardiogram, hemogram and heart anatomo-histopathologic patterns of acute and chronic cardiac forms of Chagas' disease as seen in human infections, were reproduced. The most important finding is the reproductibility of diffuse fibrosing chronic chagasic cardiopathy in all dogs infected with Be-78 T. cruzi strain autopsied between the 90th and 864th days of infection. Thus, the dog can be considered as a suitable experimental model to study Chagas' disease according to the requisites of the World Health Organization (1984). Futhermore the animal is easily obtained and easy to handle and maintain in experimental laboratory conditions.

Key words: Chagas' disease; experimental model; dog


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