Effects of Rocky Mountain spotted fever on your pet

Purebreds and German shepherds are particularly prone to a severe reaction from RMSF

Tick-borne diseases are constantly putting dog wellness at risk. The most commonly known tick-borne disease is Lyme disease, but that's not the only threat these tiny pests can pose to our pets. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is one of the most common diseases transmitted to dogs and humans by ticks. The illness has long been recognized in humans, but it wasn't identified in dogs until the 1970s, noted the Arizona Department of Health Services. 

According to PetMD, certain breeds are more likely to have a severe reaction to the illness. For example, purebred dogs and German shepherds are more susceptible, but all dog owners should be aware of the dangers. 

The illness is transmitted through a tick bite and will go through a 2-14 day incubation period. Some dogs will develop a fever within five days of contracting Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Symptoms include lethargy, fever, anorexia and swelling in the limbs. If these symptoms are seen in your pet, proper treatment should be sought out as soon as possible. Antibiotics are used to fight RMSF, although a treatment plan will be decided on a dog-to-dog basis. 

How to prevent Rocky Mountain spotted fever
The simplest way to prevent your pet from contracting RMSF is to ensure that it's never exposed to a tick bite. In the months when most ticks are seen (most RMSF infections occur in March through October), you might want to avoid taking yourself and your pet into heavily wooded areas. Ticks can't jump, so when looking for a host, they'll climb onto tall grass or shrubbery and wait for a host to brush by them. If you do venture into an overgrown area, check yourself and your pet immediately for ticks. Using a fine-toothed comb is a great way to discover any ticks hiding in your pet's fur. 

There are also products that effectively repel ticks from your dog. The Hartz® UltraGuard Plus® Flea & Tick Collar for Dogs kills and repels ticks for up to seven months.

However, it's still advisable to check your pet daily for ticks, even if your dog doesn't play outside often. Just because your dog doesn't play in heavily wooded areas, doesn't mean he or she can't get a tick. 

This content is provided by the flea treatment experts at Hartz. We offer flea sprays, shampoos and drops to keep your pets safe inside and outside your home.