Symptoms Of Tick Paralysis In Dogs (Lucca’s tale of survial)

Mar 23, 2022 | Dogs, Tick Paralysis

Lucca is one lucky little pup who just wouldn’t give up. One Thursday evening, Lucca wasn’t quite himself when he became wobbly on his back legs. His quick-thinking owners checked him all over and found a paralysis tick on his leg. They removed the tick and jumped in the car straight away to seek veterinary help.

He was taken to his primary vet where he was admitted for treatment. Lucca was sedated to help him feel less anxious about what was going on. Unable to eat or drink, the Vet placed him on a drip and gave him a life-saving tick anti-serum. Unfortunately, tick paralysis is an unpredictable condition and Lucca quickly deteriorated despite the initial treatment. He continued vomiting and developed a life-threatening complication called aspiration pneumonia – where vomit is inhaled into the lungs. 

LuccaHe was given further sedation and oxygen therapy, however, things continued to worsen for the little Maltese doggy, and every single breath was a huge struggle. Lucca was rushed to the Pet Intensive Care Unit (Pet ICU) at Underwood via animal ambulance. Dr Rod travelled with him, keeping Lucca under a light anesthetic with a tube down his airway to protect him from further aspiration and to assist breathing. 

On arrival at the Pet I.C.U, Lucca was placed on life support and remained in an induced coma for 3 days while the paralysis wore off and his lungs grew stronger. His beautiful coat was clipped off including around his face, feet and tail to make sure there were no more ticks hiding in the fur. Fortunately, no more ticks were found and it seemed that just the one tiny tick on his leg had caused all these problems. Lucca was critically ill but he refused to give up and each day improved little by little.  On Day 3 when Dr Ellie felt he was ready, Lucca was weaned off life support under the watchful eyes of the Pet ICU veterinarians and nursing staff. The Pet I.C.U team performed round-the-clock care, checking on the poor pooch regularly and ensuring he was able to breathe unassisted. 

LuccaDuring the following days, Lucca gradually became stronger.  The first time he was able to walk on his own was a happy moment for both his family and the Pet I.C.U team. He was soon walking around the hospital and saying hello to everyone with a lick and a wag of his tail.  Five days after he was first rushed into hospital, Dr Ellie finally gave him the thumbs up and told his grateful owners that he was ready to go home. With a fresh new haircut and a big smile on his face, he walked out the door of Pet I.C.U and jumped in the car, homebound.

If you suspect your pet may be suffering from tick paralysis, contact your closest Animal Emergency Service hospital or your local vet immediately.

For more information on tick paralysis, visit our Tick Paralysis Guide.

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