Spokane veterinarians see case of tick paralysis in patient, recommend protecting your pets

SPOKANE, Wash. - In an uncommon, but still startling case, veterinarians at Southcare Animal Medical Center treated a dog that came in paralyzed. 

The likely cause behind the paralysis? A tick bite right on the head. 

"The owner noticed the dog had collapsed when she got off the bed, she was flailing and uncoordinated in all four legs," said Dr. Suzanne Coulson, a vet at the medical center.”

She said they removed the tick and in a couple hours the neurotoxins wore off and the dog was walking around. 

“Ticks are genetically trained to go towards a heat source and move away from the ground,” Coulson said.

She said you can find ticks all over the body of a dog, but will most likely be found near a dogs head or neck. If the dog is thick furred it can be difficult to find them, but they can still be there. 

If they aren’t medicated and ticks are found on your dog, she says remove them. 

“Grasp down on the end head and firmly pull out, even if you pull skin out that is ok,” she said, “we don’t recommend using other methods, like lighting a match.”

While most ticks in our area don’t carry dangerous diseases, she says she still encourages medications, especially if traveling to other regions where ticks may carry such things as Lyme disease.

Her preferred treatment is a relatively new medication called Bravecto which is given orally, and must be prescribed by a veterinarian, or the over the counter topical treatment Frontline. 


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