Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Dogs

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is a zoonotic and potentially life-threatening disease that dogs can develop from being bitten by ticks. The actual organism that causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is Rickettsia rickettsii which lives parasitically in ticks and is transmitted by bite to vertebrate host.

Rickettsia are various disease-causing parasites (about the size of bacteria) that are carried by fleas, ticks, and lice.They are rod-shaped microorganisms that resemble bacteria, but which behave like viruses, reproducing only inside living cells.They live within cells. The majority are maintained in nature by a cycle that involves an insect vector, a permanent host, and an animal reservoir. On the evolutionary scale, rickettsia organisms are placed between bacteria and virus.

Certain breeds of dog like German Shepherd and other purebred dogs. Symptoms of RMSF vary depending on type of disease. Common symptoms include:





Blood in the urine

Irregular heart beat (arrhythmia)

Discolored spots along the skin, often bruised or purplish in color

Inability to walk normally, loss of coordination (ataxia)

Swelling or edema (fluid retention) in the limbs

Bleeding that occurs suddenly, most often from the nose, or in the stools

Difficulty with blood clotting, which can lead to shock or death

Swollen lymph nodes

Pain in the eyes

Inflammation, hemorrhage, or conjunctivitis in the mucosal membranes, most commonly in the eyes

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