Dogs and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Dogs and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a common tick-borne disease that not only affects dogs, but humans too. Belonging to a class of diseases known as Rickettsia, this organism (which is responsible for Rocky Mountain spotted fever) lives parasitically in ticks and gets transmitted by bites to vertebrate hosts.

What Are the Types and Symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

German shepherds and purebred dogs are more likely to develop severe reactions to Rocky Mountain spotted fever—signs and symptoms do vary according to the type of disease the dog has. While most dogs develop a fever within five days of contracting Rickettsia, there are other symptoms which include:

  • Bloody urine
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Swelling in the limbs
  • Discolored spots on the skin
  • Sudden bleeding, usually in the nose or in stools
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Pain in the eyes

How Does a Dog Get Infected with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?

The Rickettsia organism is carried by ticks and gets transmitted through a bite to a host animal. Infections commonly occur from March through October.

How is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Treated?

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a serious disease which can result in death without the proper attention. Treatment often involves bringing your dog to an in-patient health facility where they can be monitored until they show signs of improvement. Antibiotics will be given to your canine—the type will depend on your pet’s age. Proper hydration and fluid balancing will also be checked.

A blood transfusion may also be necessary if your dog is found to have low red-blood cell counts. The doctor will also monitor the amount of fluid in your dog’s brain to prevent edema or excessive swelling of tissues in the body, lungs and brain. Additionally, your dog may also require corticosteroid anti-inflammatory medications.


At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. If you have questions about Rocky Mountain spotted fever, please contact us at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909

Dunlap: 309-439-9522

Dunlap II: 309-413-0527