Paralyzed Dog ‘Cured’ by Vet Intern Moments Before Euthanization

dog paralyzed by tick saved before being euthanized

A family with the eerily appropriate surname of Fate made the very difficult decision to have their beloved 10-year-old dog, Ollie the Collie, euthanized earlier this month.

Not long after the family had gone on a recent camping trip, Ollie suddenly became paralyzed. Neither blood work, a urinalysis or X-rays revealed the possible cause.

“They finally decided they had reached their limit and it was time to help him pass,” Dr. Adam Stone, a veterinarian at the Dove Lewis Animal Hospital in Portland, told KPTV. “He couldn’t stand, he couldn’t walk, he couldn’t urinate, couldn’t defecate. So they had instructions to go get his bladder emptied twice a day from the regular vet to see if he would improve.”

Dr. Stone said the possible causes of Ollie’s paralysis could have been anything from cancer to a fractured vertebrae in his spine.

“When his mobility was shot and he was paralyzed, it was just weird seeing him just laying there on the floor, knowing he had so much more life in him,” Falline Fate told KPTV. “He’s been a really big part of our family.”

Moments before Ollie was to be given the injection that would end his life, veterinary intern Neena Golden scratched his ears to comfort him. She felt a strange lump and lifted his fur to see what it was.

It was a tick lodged in the back of Ollie’s ear.

“Ticks have a neurotoxin in their saliva that prevents nerve transition to the muscles, and that takes time to build up in the body and cause paralysis like what we saw in Ollie,” Dr. Stone told KPTV.

He said tick paralysis is rare — in fact, before Ollie, he had never seen a case. “It’s one of those things you learn about randomly in school – it’s on one slide during one presentation,” he said on the Dove Lewis Animal Hospital website.

Tick paralysis is yet another reason to protect your dog from ticks as well as fleas and other parasites — which the Fate family will certainly be doing from now on. Ollie had been wearing a tick collar on the camping trip, but it wasn’t enough.

Tick paralysis is easily cured by simply removing the tick. And sure enough, barely 10 hours after Golden found the tick, Ollie was back to his old self, on his feet and energetic.

“We were astounded by the quick turnaround,” said Ollie’s dog dad, Al Fate, according to the Dove Lewis website.

Golden said that when the hospital heard from the Fates that Ollie was doing fine, the staff high-fived each other. “That might be the one tick paralysis case I experience in my career,” she said on the Dove Lewis website. “It was exciting that we could help.”

“It was just pure grace that the people found something and decided to check it out further,” Falline Fate told KPTV.

Photo via Twitter

Laura Goldman

I am a freelance writer and lifelong dog lover. For five years, I was a staff writer for i Love Dogs. When that site shut down, I started this blog...because I STILL Love Dogs!