In Portland, Oregon, a paralyzed dog was saved moments before being euthanized, after the vet student who was comforting him found a tick behind his ear.
In mid-April, Ollie came from a camping trip when his owner, Al Meteney, noticed that the dog was becoming weak and lethargic. According to DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, Ollie was then taken to his regular veterinarian, who conducted tests including blood work and X-rays. Unfortunately, despite all the tests they ran, they could not figure out what was causing Ollie to feel bad.
Eventually, Ollie became almost completely paralyzed and was having trouble eating. On May 4, Al and his family made the heartbreaking decision to put Ollie to sleep. But instead of going to Ollie’s regular vet, Al and his wife, Joelle, took their sick dog to DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital.
Just a minute before Ollie was supposed to be put down, Neena Golden, a veterinary student who was getting hands-on experience at the animal hospital, made the surprising discovery that saved the Shetland Sheepdog‘s life.
Ollie was only moments away from death when Golden decided to comfort him by scratching him behind his ears. That’s when she felt something odd: a tick!
The poor yet lucky dog had been wearing a tick collar during the camping but the parasite still managed to latch onto him.
Thanks to the veterinary student’s compassion, she discovered the root of Ollie’s sickness which led the veterinarians to give the proper treatment instead of putting him to sleep.
It turns out that the dog was suffering from tick paralysis. Neurotoxins in the parasite’s saliva flowed into Ollie’s bloodstream over the course of days, which led to tick paralysis.
It was something that Dr. Adam Stone, who was overseeing the procedure, said is very rare.
“He was one minute away from euthanasia,” Al told ABC News. “The doctor walked in and remembered that he heard about this in school. He told me it was just one little thing, one slide, and they mentioned it and (that) it was rare, and that was it. He had never seen a case before in his career.”
After the tick was removed, the staff at the animal hospital shaved Ollie’s fur to make sure that there are no other ticks hidden away. He was then sent home to recover.
Since he started treatment, Ollie is now back on all fours.
“He’s bright-eyed, active, chasing the squirrels around,” Al said. “He has a spring in his step that he hasn’t had in quite a while.”