Local Dog Has Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
By Samar Fay, Courier Editor
Published: Thursday, May 31st, 2012
A case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever was confirmed last week in a ranch dog from north Valley County. The bacterial disease is transmitted by a bite from an infected tick, and more than 2,600 cases are reported nationwide each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
A couple of years ago, a local rancher contracted Rocky Mountain spotted fever and was very seriously ill. It can be a fatal disease.
“People need to be aware of the problem,” said Dr. Russell Smith, the Glasgow veterinarian who is treating the dog. “I have seen this three or four times in my 30 years here. In our area, we just don’t see it much.”
The key is tick control, Smith said. He has observed that it’s a bad tick year. It’s a good idea to wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when walking outside. Some people tuck their pant legs inside their socks to keep ticks on the outside of their clothing. Even if people don’t spend time outside, their dogs and cats can bring ticks in the house, where they can drop off, get on a person and feed.
There are medications absorbed through the pet’s skin that kill ticks either on contact or after they bite. Medicated collars may not do the job.
“We have felt that flea and tick collars are not as effective as other methods of control in our area,” Smith said.
He said people shouldn’t count on chemicals, but do body searches to find ticks and comb through their pet’s hair to roust them out.
Based on the symptoms, the dog was hospitalized for treatment even before the laboratory in Tennessee confirmed the diagnosis and it is recovering, Smith said. The case was reported to the Valley County Health Department.
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