Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is a dangerous disease that can strike dogs of any age, size, or breed. This infection is spread by tick bites and produces a range of symptoms in dogs. It is found all throughout the country. Dog owners should know not only how to detect but also how to prevent this condition.
What Is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Dogs?
Mountain Range A tick carries Spotted Fever, which is transmitted to humans and dogs through bites. When a tick feeds, bacteria in the tick's saliva enters the circulation and reproduces in blood vessel cells. The blood arteries become irritated and restricted, causing issues with blood flow. This infection is also known as Spotted Fever Rickettsiosis in humans, however this term encompasses infections caused by Rickettsia parkeri, Pacific Coast tick fever, and rickettsialpox.
Signs of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Dogs
It might be difficult to identify Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever based purely on symptoms. Vomiting to face swelling and joint discomfort are all symptoms of RMSF. RMSF can cause a rise in body temperature, bleeding from the nose or mouth, coughing, and even stomach discomfort. Dogs with this tick-borne sickness frequently experience muscular soreness, lethargy, and swelling legs, although not all dogs exhibit all of these symptoms. Because of the wide range of symptoms, it's difficult to tell the difference between RMSF and other illnesses or disorders.
Causes of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Dogs
Rickettsia rickettsii causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a rickettsiosis or intracellular bacterial infection. It is transmitted via tick bites from a variety of species. The American dog tick (Dermacentor variablis) is the most frequent carrier of the illness, although it can also be transmitted by the Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni) and the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus).
Diagnosing Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Dogs
After RMSF symptoms appear, a veterinarian does a thorough physical examination. Blood tests, maybe a urinalysis, and X-rays will be recommended if RMSF is suspected. The red and white blood cells, platelets, and organ function will all be examined during the blood test. To look for antibodies to the bacteria, a two-part test called an Indirect Immunofluorescent Assay (IFA) might be used.
The complete blood count (CBC) of a dog with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever may reveal low platelets and red blood cells, as well as aberrant white blood cell numbers, depending on the stage of the infection. Abnormal protein levels, as well as abnormal electrolyte, liver, and kidney values, may be shown by organ function testing.
Treatment of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Dogs
Antibiotics are used to treat Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever since it is caused by bacteria. This dangerous illness is usually treated with a three-week course of antibiotics. Probiotics may also be prescribed to help keep the beneficial bacteria in the stomach and the immune system healthy during and after antibiotic treatment. Steroids may be required in some circumstances since the illness might cause an excessive immune response that attacks the dog's own body. It can be fatal if not handled. A blood transfusion may be required in extreme situations.
How to Prevent Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Dogs
Ticks are the disease's carriers, thus the best thing a dog owner can do to avoid RMSF is keep their dog away from tick-infested areas, use a tick preventive, and do regular tick inspections when their dog returns inside after spending time outside. Ticks are more likely to be found in wooded areas and tall grasses, therefore they should be avoided. Tick preventive tablets and collars will kill ticks that can transmit RMSF to a dog.
If a tick is discovered on a dog, it should be removed as quickly as possible to avoid disease transmission. The tick must be carefully removed in its whole, including the head.
Is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Contagious to Humans?
If a dog develops Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever as a result of a tick bite, the dog cannot transmit the disease to humans. A person can be infected with RMSF just like a dog if a tick carrying this bacterial illness bites them.