Recently in Portland, Oregon a dog tick discovery saved Ollie the Sheltie. The ten-year-old dog was lethargic, but within a week the lethargy had advanced so much that Ollie could not eat or relieve himself and was almost entirely paralyzed. According to owner Joelle Meteney, Ollie’s condition was “almost unreal”. The little dog’s eyes were still sparkly, and his ears were attentive and responsive, but the rest of his body was failing him.
Veterinarians at the DoveLewis Animal Hospital performed a series of tests on Ollie but were unable to determine what was wrong with him. After learning from the vets that there was little chance of recovery, Ollie’s loving owners decided that the best thing they could do for their beloved pet be to put him down.
Visiting medical student Neena Golden was rubbing Ollie behind his ears to comfort the little dog in his last moments when she felt a lump. Her discovery of that lump ended up saving Ollie’s life. As she explained his close call: “We were in the room, the IV was in, the doctor was coming in to do this. It was, you know, the very last second.”
It turned out that Ollie had been camping with his family during a trip to Eastern Oregon and the Umpqua River a week or so earlier. Despite wearing a tick collar, he had picked up a tick which was now fully engorged. As Dr. Adam Stone explained, “The tick was very bloated… It had obviously been there for a while.”
Astoundingly, Ollie’s dog tick discovery turned out to be a rare tick-born illness called tick paralysis. This condition is so rare that many veterinarians never see a case. The tick’s saliva had entered Ollie’s system over the course of many days. There it affected his neurological system, which resulted in paralysis.
Fortunately for Ollie, tick paralysis is easily cured – by simply removing the tick! The staff removed the bloated tick and shaved most of the little dog’s coat to make sure there weren’t anymore. Then they sent Ollie home with his relieved family.
Less than 12 hours later, Ollie was asking to go outside. Al Meteney was surprised at his pet’s quick recovery, as were staff members at the pet hospital. As Dr. Stone explained, they thought it might take three days for the dog to recover from the devastating effects of the tick. He said: “That might be the one tick paralysis case I experience in my career. It was exciting that we could help.”
Ollie is very lucky that a visiting student’s compassionate touch earned him a last-minute reprieve. If you need to board your dog, contact Canine Commander. Our compassionate staff will treat your pet with the loving care that they deserve.