Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is one of the most dangerous tick-borne diseases, for dogs and humans, alike. Pet owners should be aware of Rocky Mountain spotted fever symptoms, how to avoid ticks that carry this disease, among other vital facts. The TickZapper® team has created this page as part of our on-going commitment to the safety and well being of pets and pet parents.
Let’s discuss some of the facts associated with Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and also identify the various ticks that carry this tick-borne disease.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Facts
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by an infectious organism called Rickettsia rickettsii (R. rickettsia), and is transferred to humans and animals through tick bites. Female ticks may pass the disease on to her eggs, or to male ticks, during mating. Feeding on an infected host may also infect ticks.
Although humans and pets can contract this tick-borne disease, it cannot be passed from dog to human, directly. It is recommended that pet parents wear gloves during tick removal.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rocky Mountain spotted fever has been an officially recognized tick-borne disease since the early 20th century. Prevalent in several regions of the United States, this disease has a higher rate of occurrence in the Mississippi Valley, the Great Plains, Eastern U.S., and the Appalachian states. The states responsible for over sixty percent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever cases are as follows:
- North Carolina
Ticks that carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever:
- American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis) – primarily in the eastern states.
- Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) – primarily in Arizona.
- Rocky Mountain Wood Tick (Dermacentor andersoni) – primarily in the western states.
The American dog tick lives primarily east of the Mississippi River, while the Rocky Mountain wood tick is found in the western United States. All ticks enjoy wooded areas, fields, high grass, and cool, damp areas. It is prudent to keep your pets away from brushy trails and piles of foliage. Keep your pets away from these tick-friendly regions to reduce the chance of Rocky Mountain spotted fever transmission. Learn more about Where Ticks Live, here.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Symptoms
Symptoms to be aware of in regards to Rocky Mountain spotted fever:
- Poor or No Appetite
- Muscle or Joint Pain
- Abdominal Pain
- Swelling (especially of the face or legs)
- Depression or Low Energy
- Head Tilting or Circling
- Eye Conjunctivitis
- Hemorrhaging of/on the Gums
Pay close attention to your pet’s behavior. See your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has symptoms associated with Rocky Mountain spotted fever. In order to confirm a case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever a test called the Indirect Immunoflourescent Assay (IFA) titer may be administered, by your veterinarian. One blood test will be completed at the time of the illness, and the second will be completed several weeks later. The disease is confirmed if the antibody titer increases by four fold.
If you see a tick on your pet, it’s time to deploy the TickZapper® for safe, easy, and quick tick removal –without the risk of human contact! Time is of the essence when it comes to preventing tick-borne disease transmission. Our revolutionary tick removal tool is the quick, safe, and easy way to remove ticks from your pet. The tick is fully captured and securely contained to ensure that you will not have to make direct, human contact with a potentially diseased tick! To purchase your new TickZapper®, check out our product page. Buy with confidence! The TickZapper® comes with a thirty day, money back guarantee, and, a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.