Rocky mountn fever in dogs

Rocky mountn fever in dogs

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Rocky mountn fever in dogs

Rocky Mountn fever is a disease that dogs and cats contract, and which is carried by the tick Amblyomma americanum. It is an infection caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii, which is in the same genus as the bacteria that cause other rickettsial diseases such as Rocky Mountn spotted fever.

The disease was first described in the United States in 1899, in Colorado, where it has since become endemic. RMSF affects both wild and domestic animals, and causes an infection and inflammation in the dog's inner ear. Although many tick-borne diseases in dogs and cats can present with similar symptoms, RMSF does not pose a serious risk to the pet and rarely causes fatalities.


The primary symptom of Rocky Mountn fever is an inflamed inner ear, and the most common presentation is otic externa. The early stages of the disease are typically asymptomatic, dogs may experience mild lameness or behavioral changes. As the infection progresses, dogs will display neurologic symptoms and may even die. Other less common symptoms include diarrhea, dyspnea, abdominal pn, weight loss, loss of appetite, fever, anemia, jaundice, vomiting, lethargy, and depression. Signs of illness, such as these, can be very nonspecific and are common in dogs with other diseases, so a veterinarian must be consulted when a pet displays these signs.

Laboratory findings

Laboratory findings include a lymphocytosis, moderate anemia, and moderate to severe neutrophilia. The onset of disease symptoms will vary depending on the animal's immune status. For young dogs, the bacteria can remn dormant for years in the spleen without causing any disease signs. In older dogs, the bacteria have likely spread and multiplied to a higher number and become active, and infection will become symptomatic.


Confirmation of Rocky Mountn fever is typically via serum and blood culture, which can take between 3 and 6 days. A blood sample is drawn, a serum separation gel is placed, and then the serum is isolated. It is then cultured in a special medium, and several readings are taken to determine when the bacterium is ready to be harvested and cultured agn. Since a definitive diagnosis cannot be made from the blood culture alone, the diagnosis is based on a combination of clinical signs, a thorough history, and the identification of the organism in a blood sample.


Early treatment and recognition are important because Rocky Mountn fever causes a mortality rate of up to 90%. This means that early treatment can prevent an animal from contracting the disease and dying from it. The disease is treated with antibiotics, but the specific medication is controversial. Some studies have shown that combination therapy consisting of doxycycline and chloramphenicol is more effective than individual antibiotics, but other studies have found that no drug has an effect on the mortality rate.



Rocky Mountn fever is named for the Rocky Mountns of the United States, where the disease was first identified. The disease was first identified in the 1960s and at first thought to be transmitted by ticks, but scientists later discovered that it could be transmitted by the bite of a cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis). It was also discovered that the disease could be passed between sheep and goats in England and the United States. Finally, in 1988, Rocky Mountn fever was confirmed to be a distinct disease from African swine fever in both South America and Europe.


Since the discovery of Rocky Mountn fever, several outbreaks have been recorded throughout the world. Outbreaks were first recorded in Africa and South America and were then confirmed to occur in Europe in the 1950s. After decades without an outbreak, the disease once agn spread to South America in 1985. Rocky Mountn fever is believed to be a threat in China and Japan as well.

The first outbreak in Europe occurred in England in 1961. A year later, the first outbreak in Ireland occurred. The outbreak in Europe did not begin in England as many people had traveled back to the country from their home in Africa or South America. In England, however, it was determined that the livestock were the cause of the disease.

The second outbreak of the disease occurred in Europe in 1965. It spread from Switzerland to France. It was later determined that it had been transmitted from goats to a sheep and this happened because the infected goats were sold to another farm that had a small flock of sheep.

In 1980, it was believed that Rocky Mountn fever had spread to the United States, because at least six counties in the United States had more cases than previously recorded. However, in 1988 it was determined that the disease had not spread to the United States.

In 2007, the disease spread to the United States agn. A month after the outbreak in 2007, the disease was traced to an infected wild horse in Colorado.


The first outbreak of Rocky Mountn fever occurred in England in 1961. It was determined that the disease was caused by a virus and later it was discovered to be Borrelia burgdorferi.

B. burgdorferi is spread to humans and animals when the ticks feed on infected animals. The ticks need to be at least 7 days old to transmit the disease to humans.

Risk factors

The best-known risk factors for the disease include livestock rsing and the use of tick control chemicals.

Tick control

The use of tick control products like acaricides and repellents is the most effective way to prevent the disease. They are especially effective in preventing the disease if they are applied immediately after ticks feed on an animal.

In addition, other methods of tick control are very effective as well, but they can be used only if the methods are used on a continual basis.


Ticks often carry the Borrelia bacterium as they feed. This bacterium is spread to the animal when the ticks feed.

This causes fever to develop in the animal and when the ticks withdraw from the animal it takes several days to recover. It is then necessary for the farmer to do a proper quarantine to prevent the disease spreading to other animals on the farm. If the animals are allowed to recover in the quarantine area, they can become infected with the disease agn.

Acaricides are often used when grazing cattle or sheep on large grassland or when managing the feed for animals.

The most commonly used acaricide is acifluorfen which kills the ticks within a matter of hours. It also keeps the ticks from molting.


Ticks often pick up the disease during their early stages. This can be prevented if repellents are used properly.

This is especially important when moving sheep to new past

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