Case Study on Tick Paralysis

By March 29, 2016Pet Talk

Have you heard of Tick Paralysis? Do you know what it can do to your dog? See the case study below on one of our patients…

“Patches” is a sweet four year old Pomeranian mix who was vacationing in Interlochen with her family. On Wednesday, her owners noted that she seemed a little wobbly in her hind end, then later in the day her front legs started to seem wobbly as well.  By Thursday morning, she was unable to stand at all on her own, and the owners brought her to see us.

On exam, “Patches” was laying on her side, paralyzed. Her muscles were weak.  Her cranial nerve exam (to test the nerves in the brain) was normal, and there was no evidence of disc disease in her back.  Four ticks, including one that was very engorged, were found.  At this point, a disease called Tick Paralysis was highly suspected.  Tick Paralysis is a neurologic disease caused by a neurotoxin found in tick saliva.  Tick Paralysis generally carries a good prognosis for recovery if treated rapidly, however, it can be fatal if left untreated.  The ticks were removed and “Patches” was treated with Bravecto, a medication that begins killing ticks within hours, in case there were any baby ticks under her fur that we were unable to find.   “Patches” was hospitalized for observation.  She started to improve within a couple hours, and within 5 hours, “Patches” was back to normal!  She was able to walk out of the building and will be able to enjoy the rest of her vacation!

Although Tick Paralysis is not common, it demonstrates the importance of tick prevention. Tick checks are helpful, but it’s not always easy to find ticks under a dog’s fur.  We recommend a product called Bravecto, which is a chewable tablet that starts killing ticks within hours and lasts for 3 months.  It’s tick season – is your dog protected?


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