Thursday, January 16, 2014

Paralysis tick - a cautionary tale

This is Yuki, our silky terrier/maltese cross. She's three years old and pretty much the best natured dog I know, loves affection and wants nothing more than a scratch behind the ears and a soft bed because she loves to laze around. She's an old soul but a beautiful, affectionate hound.


On Tuesday as I was coming home from work, Mr Fork called me and said that Yuki was having trouble walking so he was taking her to the vet. She was fine when I'd left for work that morning, so I asked what happened and he said he thought she'd injured a back leg running up the stairs. Five minutes later, he called back and said he'd found a tick over her eye; we couldn't go to our regular vet as she needed to be admitted for overnight and immediate treatment.

She was admitted as soon as we got there and was already going into shock - she couldn't walk, and was starting to shake and have trouble breathing. The vet told us that it's not the worst case of paralysis tick they've seen and she looks good to recover but it's going to be a long road.


Yuki will hopefully be home with us tonight, after having spent almost 48 hours under around the clock veterinary care. When admitted, she had no gag reflex, could not walk or blink and was shaking and in shock. She could not toilet by herself. The vet will not let her come home until she can eat, walk and toilet on her own. 
She's so tiny (only 4kg!) that small amount of time the tick was on was enough to get to her. Where the tick was over her eye, she can't blink. Apparently that will correct over the next few weeks, but until then we will have to put in eye drops to keep her lubricated. She will come home half bald, be weak and need to rest. Toby will be glad to have her home as he has been beside himself without her, but I don't know how much rest she will get with him around!


We did everything right. We treat them, clip them short, worm them and check them for ticks regularly. Apparently ticks are becoming immune to lots of treatments and it really was rotten luck to get one in the suburbs, especially as we don't have much bushland or long grass nearby. Our dogs rarely leave the yard and we are told the most likely possibility is she picked it up from a possum, who are immune and can host the ticks.

So please, if you have pets, check them daily. Especially with the heat, make sure your fur babies are clipped short. Tick paralysis is life threatening and I'm so grateful we caught it early enough for our little girl. I can't wait to have her back home.

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