Rocky Mountain spotted fever



Appropriate antibiotic treatment should be initiated immediately after suspicion of fever and observation of Rickettsia infection on the basis of clinical and epidemiological findings. Treatment should not be delayed until laboratory confirmation is obtained.


Infected dogs (as well as humans) may rapidly and completely recover if the infection is mild or appropriate antimicrobial therapy is initiated promptly. However, thrombosis may lead to organ dysfunction in severe cases. Death occurs in less than 5% of human and canine patients. Dogs that recover from the clinical disease have not shown to become re-infected.


As with other rickettsial infections, the treatment of choice for RMSF is tetracycline (22 mg/kg given three times daily) or doxycycline (10-20 mg/kg given twice a day). Chloramphenicol (15-20 mg/kg given three times a day) may also be used. The use of enrofloxacin should be restricted to older animals to prevent damage of cartilage.


Supportive therapy should be initiated concomitantly with antibiotic administration; however, fluid therapy should be administered conservatively due to the vasculitis and subsequent risk of pulmonary and cerebral oedema.


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