Anonymous asked in PetsDogs · 1 decade ago

Can dogs get the rocky mountain spotted fever?

We found a american dog tick on my dog's nose... i did some research to find a little more about this tick... and i found that some carry the rocky mountain spotted fever. i am worried that my dog will get it... can he get it? what can i do to cure him if he does? please answer... i worry about these things A LOT! and i read that it was fatal, and the world would end for me if my dog, luigi, died... : (

7 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a disease transmitted by ticks and is most prevalent in the east coast, midwest, and plains regions. Rocky Mountain spotted fever affects dogs and humans. Through blood tests, it has been demonstrated that cats may also become infected, but the disease in cats is minimal. Various rodents, raccoons and fox may carry the causative agent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

    What causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever ?

    Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by Rickettsia rickettsii. It is one of many rickettsia organisms, which on the evolutionary scale are between bacteria and viruses.

    How is Rocky Mountain spotted fever transmitted?

    R. rickettsii is transmitted from animal to animal through the bite of the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) and the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever tick (hence the catchy name) Dermacentor andersoni.

    The tick has various life stages, several of which feed on animals. Any of these stages could be infected with R. rickettsii and transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The tick must be attached to a host for a minimum of 5-20 hours for transmission of R. rickettsii to occur. Since it is transmitted by ticks, most cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever occur during the tick season from April to September.

    What are the symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever?

    There are two stages of Rocky Mountain spotted fever: Subclinical and acute. In the subclinical stage, dogs are infected, but do not show outward signs of the disease though they may have laboratory test abnormalities. These dogs may recover quickly.

    In the acute stage, dogs have a loss of appetite, fever, pain in the muscles and joints, swollen lymph nodes, and edema (fluid accumulation) in the face and legs. Some animals develop pneumonia or heart arrhythmias, which can lead to sudden death. Most dogs have neurological signs (dizziness, depression, stupor, seizures) and these can sometimes become very severe. These signs appear 2 to 14 days after the tick bite. The dogs may have slight anemia, a low number of platelets (platelets help blood to clot), and increased liver enzymes, as measured by a blood chemistry panel. Some dogs develop ulcerations of the mucous membranes and extremities.

    How is Rocky Mountain spotted fever diagnosed?

    Several blood tests are available which test for the dog's antibodies (proteins produced to fight off the infection) to R. rickettsii. Since we need to look for a change in the antibody levels, usually two tests will be done 2 weeks apart and the results compared. Dogs with an active infection will show a significant rise in the amount of antibody present.

    A test is also available which detects antigens (protein parts) of R. rickettsii. This test can become positive as early as 4 days after the tick bite. This test is not a blood test, but a small biopsy of the skin at the site of the tick bite is tested.

    How is Rocky Mountain spotted fever treated?

    The antibiotics tetracycline, doxycycline, or enrofloxacin are used. Treatment is for 10-14 days. Some dogs can develop severe disease and must be treated for shock or severe nervous system symptoms. If treated within the first several days, most dogs will recover completely - some dogs actually show improvement within hours of starting the antibiotics. Dogs who have severe damage to their nervous systems, may not recover completely. German Shepherds and certain lines of English Springer Spaniels tend to have a more severe form of the disease.

    How can I prevent my pet from getting Rocky Mountain spotted fever?

    Tick control is the main way to prevent Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Products which repel and kill ticks such as Bio Spot for Dogs are excellent choices. Tick collars containing the active ingredient amitraz are also used, sometimes in conjunction with Bio Spot in those areas with high tick infestations.

    It appears that dogs who have had Rocky Mountain spotted fever and recovered are immune to reinfection for years.

    Because rodents play a role in the life cycle of the Dermacentor ticks, rodent control is important as well.

    There is no vaccine for Rocky Mountain spotted fever

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  • 1 decade ago

    How long was the tick on the dog? Was it less than 24 hours (lower chance for infection if the tick was found right away)? Do you live in an area where rocky mountain spotted fever is prevalent (Southeastern United States)? Take your dog to the vet and ask her all of your questions about the disease. The vet can put the dog on doxycycline which is an antibiotic used to treat tick borne illnesses.

    ETA: Your vet won't want to wait for test results if she thinks it is likely that the dog was exposed. It can be missed by blood tests if the bite was less than a week ago.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Yes they can. They can also get Lymes Disease (there has been substantial evidence that all species of ticks carry it) and quite a few other rickettsial diseases. I would call your vet, as they probably will want to put your dog on preventative medications and then test the dog for tick borne diseases in 2-4 months.

    Source(s): Vet tech, show and breed French Bulldogs
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  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, this is contracted by dogs. There is a test your vet can do for the virus, have it checked in his next visit. It does take several days for the virus to show up on a blood test.

    Source(s): My daughter is a groomer, this is one of the risks involved with her job.
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  • 1 decade ago

    Dogs can get tick borne diseases just like humans. I would call your vet and ask what the systoms may be. Thats all I think you can do for now.

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  • 1 decade ago

    1. Yes.

    2. Take him to a vet ASAP.

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  • 1 decade ago


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