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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1985 Mar 1;186(5):465-72.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever in dogs and its differentiation from canine ehrlichiosis.


Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) or ehrlichiosis was diagnosed in dogs on the basis of specific immunofluorescent testing for each disease. Comparisons between clinical and laboratory findings were made between the 2 diseases. The incidence of RMSF tended to be more seasonal and it affected younger dogs. Purebred dogs appeared to be more susceptible to both diseases. In general, RMSF had a more rapid and severe course of clinical illness than did ehrlichiosis, but acute ehrlichiosis was difficult to differentiate from RMSF. Both diseases were characterized by fever, depression, lymphadenopathy, and signs of neurologic dysfunction; petechial hemorrhages or other signs of hemorrhagic diathesis were evident only in a small proportion of cases. Anemia, leukopenia, and thrombocytopenia were more common in dogs with ehrlichiosis, whereas those with RMSF more often had leukocytosis and thrombocytopenia. Hypoalbuminemia was found in dogs with both diseases, but those with ehrlichiosis usually had concurrent hyperglobulinemia. High serum alkaline phosphatase activity and serum cholesterol concentration, and low serum calcium concentration were more common in dogs with RMSF than with ehrlichiosis. Rising serum titers or positive direct immunofluorescence for Rickettsia rickettsii in skin biopsy specimens were used to confirm RMSF, whereas a single serum titer for Ehrlichia canis enabled detection of ehrlichiosis. In the absence of neurologic deficits and when dogs were treated with tetracycline, dogs with RMSF made a more rapid and consistent recovery than did dogs with ehrlichiosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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