The Edmond Sun

Features

June 17, 2013

VET Q&A: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever remains a real threat

EDMOND — Q: My dog Candy died last year from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Is this that common in Oklahoma and how can I be sure neither one of my other dogs get it?

A:
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is a disease that can affect any of our pets as well as us. It is caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii and is transmitted by a variety of ticks. Three ticks can be found in Oklahoma that carry it. They include the Lone Star Tick, The Gulf Coast tick (more common in the southeast U.S.) and the American Dog Tick.

Oklahoma is a major center for both human and canine RMSF. Other states that commonly have it are Virginia and North Carolina.   

A tick has to attach to the dog or person to feed on blood. It must be attached for somewhere between four or five hours to as long as 24 hours to transmit the disease and all breeds of dogs are susceptible. Because your dog was diagnosed with RMSF last year, you know it is present in your area. You should be ultra-cautious about checking for ticks on you and your family and should use a collar or other very good tick repellent/killer on your dogs. If a female tick is carrying the bacterium then all of the eggs and her offspring also will be carrying it and can infect the unknowing person/dog.

Ticks are more at home in overgrown grassy areas, brush piles, leaf piles, tall grass and weeds and also are spread by wildlife hosts such as rodents and deer.

There is no one clinical sign to watch for in an infected animal. The signs of RMSF infection are similar to many other diseases and consequently the infection can be missed or confused with something else.

The most common sign is a fever that develops a few days after the tick bite.  Other signs can include lethargy, depression, vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal pain, occasional neurologic signs, sore muscles, coughing, weight loss, nasal discharge, red eyes and loss of appetite.

The disease itself is a fairly short-term disease and symptoms show up within days of the bite. There are several tests specific for RMSF and if there is a high risk for this infection a test would be warranted. Ticks are not as seasonal in Oklahoma anymore and can be found year round. They are more common from the end of March through September and into October, but can be seen even in December and January.

It is crucial to start the correct antibiotic as soon as possible. Many antibiotics are not effective against tick-borne diseases. Your veterinarian can run appropriate tests and prescribe the best antibiotic for your pets. Some dogs can get RMSF and get well on their own while others get it and die so it is better to get them on treatment as soon as possible. Most will survive and do fine on the proper treatment.

As always, prevention is the best scenario. Check daily for ticks, visit with your veterinarian about the best collar, a Preventic® Collar, which is a six-month or an eight-month collar also are available. Keep brush, leaves and wood piles away from their area of living to prevent an infestation.                                                             

DR. M. MARGARET KING, a longtime Edmond veterinarian, is a guest columnist. If you have any questions for her, email them to mkekdoc@sbcglobal.net.

 

1
Text Only
Features
  • Shopping smarter for family necessities can help the environment

    There’s a growing trend among consumers to make choices reflecting the goals and values that matter to them most.  In fact, two out of five people say they’re more inspired to try a natural product that does something good for themselves, their family and the planet, according to a recent study conducted by Toluna for natural products brand Tom’s of Maine.

    July 21, 2014

  • Back to school lunch Build a better bag

    Brown bag lunches and back to school go hand in hand. As you’re gearing up for the start of a new school year, it’s the perfect time to stock the pantry with healthy sack lunch options and after school snacks, too.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pets

    This is a list of animals that have been found and are at the Edmond Animal Shelter, at Interstate 35 and Covell in the Cross Timbers Municipal Complex. Call the shelter at 216-7615 for more information.

    July 21, 2014

  • Kids Cook Simple ways canned foods get children cooking

    When it comes to teaching children about healthy eating habits, there’s no better classroom than the kitchen.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls The Canebrake offers summer recipe for Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls

    The Canebrake, a destination hotel and spa in Wagoner, is offering the following recipe from its restaurant for Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls with Avocado Wasabi Puree.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 21, 2014

  • Quilt Edmond Quilt Guild celebrates 10th anniversary with event

    Quilting has evolved over the years and now, more than ever it is looked at as an art form.
    Edmond’s Quilt Guild is sponsoring its fourth quilt show and festival celebrating its 10th anniversary at the same time this week and inviting area residents to come and check out some of the newest types of quilting.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ryan by horse statue.jpg Good Samaritan who lost his leg ‘Keeps Moving Forward’

    He is an uncommon hero, this Good Samaritan who saved another man’s life and in doing so lost his left leg. Now his friends and family are reaching out to help him.
    While assisting a stranded motorist on Nov. 9, 2011, Edmond resident and Santa Fe High School graduate Tyler Ryan was hit and pinned against the back bumper of a car by an inattentive motorist on 15th Street in front of Crest Supermarket.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arthritis Foundation names Devon Energy Corp. CEO as 2014 honoree

    The Arthritis Foundation this week announced that John Richels, Chief Executive Officer, Devon Energy Corp., will be this year’s honoree at the 25th Annual Tribute to Excellence Dinner scheduled for Oct. 22 at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.  Richels will be recognized for his leadership, commitment and dedication to charitable and civic causes in the communities Devon serves across Oklahoma and throughout North America.
    The Arthritis Foundation’s Annual Tribute to Excellence Dinner recognizes outstanding Oklahomans in the public and private sectors for their exemplary work, as well as for their personal and professional contributions to society.

    July 18, 2014

  • Garden Yard of the Week winner Thompson preserves local history, beauty

    There is always movement and activity around the outskirts of the University of Central Oklahoma campus, but this week’s Edmond’s Yard of the Week winner, Sharon Thompson at 631 N. University, calms the area with a combination of Edmond’s slower past history and a current Zen peacefulness of nature in harmony. Her home is adjacent to more Edmond history — Gossett Park, honoring a 50-year Kiwanis member.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo