Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Clara's Story

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is one of the infectious diseases transmitted by ticks. 

It is most prevalent in the east coast, midwest, and plains. Even though it is not as well knows as lyme disease, it isn't any less nasty. Some dogs can develop severe nervous system symptoms. It is potentially fatal.

We always tend to think that bad things only happen to somebody else's dogs. But each of us is somebody else to everybody else.

Clara's symptoms started with increasing stiffness and weakness of her back end.

When looking at those symptoms, the first things that come to mind are injury, arthritis, hip dysplasia ...

But let's not forget that it can be infectious in origin.

By the time Clara finally got diagnosed, this has gotten much worse and she would also have episodes of trembling.



In retrospect, Clara started slowing down quite a few months before but it didn't make anybody overly suspicious.

Were those already early signs of the infection?

Around the time when the hind end issues started Clara also got a rash on her chest, belly and legs which may or may not be related to her illness.

Clara's initial diagnostics included physical evaluation, x-rays and complete blood count. Everything looked fine except a lowered platelet count, which put tick-borne disease on the board.

Clara was put on antibiotics while waiting for test results for tick-borne diseases and parasites.

The results came back with very high antibodies against Rocky Mountain spotted fever. She's been fighting the infection for quite some time.

With treatment, Clara is slowly improving. Time will tell whether she will recover completely.

A gradual onset of symptoms is often hard to catch.

We test for tick-borne disease every year, even though our dogs' exposure to tick has been, thankfully, quite minimal. I feel it's important to consider tick-borne disease as a differential diagnoses when any strange signs and symptoms could point to it.

Did your dog ever suffer from a tick-borne disease?

Source article:
The Dangers of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever for Dogs

Further reading:
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Dogs
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever


Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!

What were the first signs you noticed? How did you dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you!

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