Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a bacterial infection and one of various zoonotic diseases that humans can become infected with. Humans contract this infection by the bite of ticks infected with the organism Rickettsia. At least one case of this illness has been reported in nearly every state in the U.S. This is why it is important to keep fleas and ticks away from pets. The Culprits:
1. D variabilis - The American Dog Tick or the Lone Star Tick, the most common contributor of this infection, residing in the eastern US.
2. D andersoni- Rocky Mountain wood tick in the western US. How Do I Catch It? This infection is not transmittable from person to person. It is caused by an infection with bacteria through a tick bite. Pets may be carriers of an infected tick, so they should be treated for ticks on a regular basis to prevent an outbreak. Removing a Tick: Do not crush a tick with your fingers. If any part of the tick gets into a cut or abrasion on your skin, you may become infected as you would by a tick bite. Pull the tick straight out with a pair of tweezers. You may want to keep the tick for your physician to analyze for an infection. The Tick Twister is safe and effective for you pets. It has a specially designed notch that grabs the tick at skin level and removes it completely in one motion. It has a bowl-shaped end which securely contains the tick for easy disposal. It helps reduce risk of disease. What Are The Symptoms? Humans: Within 2 weeks, symptoms will arise if you have been infected with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. However, not everyone recalls a bite from a tick, and may be confused when these symptoms occur. 1. Rash: Small red spots or blotches on the wrists, ankles, palms, and soles that spread to the limbs and trunk. 2. Fever: A 103-105 degree Fahrenheit fever with chills, pain and headache may occur. In addition, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and fatigue may develop. 3. Severe Symptoms: This infection may cause moderate to sever damage to the organs if not properly and promptly treated. Dogs: Signs normally appear within a week of the tick bite. 1. Acute Stages: Loss of appetite, fever, muscle and joint pain. Also, there may be swollen lymph nodes and edema in the face and legs. 2. Neurological Signs: Dizziness, depression, stupor or seizures. Prevention: Avoid tick-infested areas, like the woods or fields. Keep your pets free of ticks. The PREVENTIC Tick Collar by VIRBAC is the only tick collar that detaches and kills ticks effectively. It is effective for 3 months and is a good complement to Advantage or PROGRAM. There is also Adam's Flea and Tick Shampoo. Mow your lawn to discourage tick populations. If you are out in wooded areas, wear long sleeve and keep yourself completely covered. Use a repellent like Adam's Yard Spray to kill fleas and ticks in residential lawns and backyards. Or, to kill ticks in your house, use the Knockout Room and Area Fogger. Before you enter your house, check yourself and your family for ticks. Behind the knees, between fingers, on the neck, hairline, and head are common areas for a ticks to reside. Remove ticks as quickly as possible. If you have been bitten, disinfect the bite and wash your hands. Treatment: Antibiotics are used to treat Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in both humans and dogs. To learn more about other Zoonotic diseases, visit the Zoonotic Diseases section.