I recently had a dental procedure and of all the places for the topic of tick paralysis to come up — the dental chair. I always enjoy going to see my dentist; he seemingly asks questions when my mouth is full of dental equipment obstructing tongue movement, making it almost impossible to get much more than an “um ank ye ounds ra…” in response to questions. One would think questions from a dentist would be rhetorical until the question is something like — “does that hurt?” Trust me — not a rhetorical question! So tick paralysis, the dental chair, and what I learned.
My dentist is a dog lover and as we caught up on the latest with our dogs, he told me how his dog had recently suffered tick paralysis. On a Sunday night he noticed one of his dogs acting oddly staggering until she could not stand on her hind legs. Shortly thereafter, the dog lost bladder control escalating the situation to an emergency veterinary call. The dog’s respirations dropped to approximately five per minute — with the rapid decline it was unclear if the dog would survive. During the veterinarians examination laboratory values were near normal, intravenous fluids were started, and a tick was found attached to the neck. After proper removal of the tick within minutes the dog started improving and in 24 hours the dog was back to normal.
Merck Veterinary Manual Overview of Tick Paralysis in part: “Tick paralysis (toxicity) is an acute, progressive, symmetrical, ascending motor paralysis caused by salivary neurotoxin(s) produced by certain species of ticks.” Ticks in our area capable of transmitting tick paralysis are:
· Deer tick;
· Dog tick; and
· Lone star tick.
Female ticks produce the neurotoxin most commonly as they emerge from hibernation from April to June.
Prevention is always the key but, ticks can attach themselves to a dog even with use of spray, collar and pill forms of flea and tick prevention. It is recommended to search and examine your pets coat daily. When hiking or participating in activities where your dog is at higher risk of tick exposure using a combination of a spray with collar or tablet therapy may offer better protection. As always before use I recommend discussing any medication or chemical used on or around your pet with your veterinarian. Any time you are combining therapy please talk with your pet’s healthcare provider. Hobo the Wonder Dog’s flea and tick prevention is trusted to NexGard with great results. Other members of our pack are trusted to Seresto dog collars with equally impressive results. Regardless of the product you choose to prevent flea and ticks; no one knows your pet better than your veterinarian.
Tick paralysis is not only for the dogs — it can affect cats, sheep, goats, calves, foals, horses, pigs, poultry, reptiles and people. Knowing the signs and symptoms of tick paralysis may save you and your pet. This time of year it is especially important to examine your pet often for ticks. Hobo and I always advocate talking with your veterinarian on what’s best for your pet.
It is amazing what you can learn if you listen — what I learned in the dental chair heightened my awareness of ticks and the diseases they carry.
Life is better with a dog — woof!
Hobo the Wonder Dog, Your guide to travel, health and fun. Please follow Hobo on Facebook at Hobo the Wonder Dog or contact us at: [email protected]