Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a disease caused by the bacteria Rickettsia rickettsii. RMSF is transmitted by the American dog tick and the wood tick and is prevalent in every state in the U.S. except for Maine.
There are two stages of the disease: subclinical and acute.
- In the subclinical stage, there are no symptoms and some dogs recover quickly, probably like I did.
- In the acute stage, 2 days to 2 weeks after infection, there are a range of symptoms such as joint swelling, loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, fatigue, pneumonia, bleeding from the nose, neurological problems, among others. Some dogs that reach this stage get very sick very fast. RMSF is diagnosed by blood tests that reveal antibody levels and is treated with antibiotics. A full recovery is most likely if early treatment happens.
Eeck!! It's real important that people get treated as soon as possible if they suspect RMSF. It is some nasty business! So be careful out there and check yourself and your pets for ticks every day.
The good news in all this is that Jenn had Bernie tested with the SNAP 4DX hearworm/tick screening and he is negative on all the exposures.
You can learn more about canine RMSF here and human RMSF here.