When Ollie, a ten-year-old sheltie stopped eating and found it difficult to walk, no one could figure out what was wrong with him — even the veterinarians. When it seemed as if the kindest thing to do was put Ollie out of his misery, fate — or luck — intervened.
Before the final act of injecting Ollie with the drugs that would allow him to painlessly die, the vet and a visiting veterinary student, Neena Golden, were petting him and comforting him. Both still struggled to understand “why an otherwise healthy dog was experiencing paralysis.” Neena noticed that there was a tick near Ollie’s ears. Apparently, even though Ollie had been wearing a tick collar, a tick had attached itself to Ollie during a recent camping trip.
Dr. Stone examined the tick and the area and in the press release from the veterinary hospital, wrote:
“The tick was very bloated, and there was lots of fecal material from the tick. It had obviously been there for a while.”
Before the camping trip, Ollie had been the picture of health. And once he began showing symptoms of an illness, his family didn’t wait to start having tests done. But all the blood tests, urinalysis, and X-rays didn’t show any reason for Ollie’s symptoms. They tried medication but it didn’t help. When Ollie couldn’t eat, walk or defecate on his own, the heartbroken family had to make a decision.
Luckily, once the vet students found the tick, the veterinarian remembered a rare condition that can be caused by a tick that he had heard about in vet school.
This rare but very real condition can occur, wrote the clinic: “…when the saliva secreted by the tick gets into the dog’s system over a prolonged period of time. It affects the dog’s neurological system and can cause paralysis. Only certain species of ticks can cause this damage, and removing the tick is completely curative.”
The hospital staff shaved Ollie to make sure there were no more ticks anywhere on his body. Once the family learned that this might be the issue, they took him home. Only 10 hours later, Ollie showed almost miraculous signs of improvement.
The press release has a happy ending. “Today, Ollie is back to normal – lively, active and ready to embark on his next outdoor adventure. Al plans to use a tick collar as well as ingestible tick prevention for their next excursion, per Dr. Stone’s recommendation.”
Please remember that your dogs and cats need to be not just on a heartworm preventative, but also on a flea and tick preventative. It might just save their lives!