Penticton dog paralyzed after being bitten by a tick

Pup paralyzed from tick

It's a good time to not just check yourself for ticks, but your furry companions too.

A Penticton couple knew their dog hadn’t been feeling well over the past few days, but was shocked to find their dog had been paralyzed from a tick on its body.

Brenda Blatz and her husband have a 16-year-old shih tzu-bichon cross named Joey who often heads out on trips with them. Sometime in the last two weeks, either around home or through their travels to Coalmont and Keremeos, their pup picked up an unwelcome friend.

“He was paralyzed, kind of in the middle of the night. And my husband didn't wake me up to tell me. So by the morning, that's when he says, 'He can't walk.' [Joey] would just fall down on the ground,” Blatz explained.

Joey hadn’t been feeling well for a few days before, but the couple assumed it was because of his age and overall health, which has been declining lately.

“Because our dog is old, he doesn't like his eyes, or his mouth or his face touched anymore, and he's got lots and lots of little lumps that dogs, you know, start to get when they get older. So we probably didn't see it when it was tiny. And then all of a sudden, I'm going ‘Oh my god, this is not a lump. This is a tick.'”

Blatz sent off photos of the tick to etick.ca, which is a public platform for image-based identification and population monitoring of ticks in Canada, and it was confirmed it to be a dermacentor tick, more commonly known as the American dog tick.

“We did use petroleum jelly to get the tick to come out a bit and then burnt it.”

While this tick species does not carry Lyme disease, if the tick is attached for five days or more, a toxin in the saliva of some of the ticks may cause paralysis in humans and animals.

“We found the tick at six o'clock that night, took it out. And by 4 a.m. when he got up again, he was walking,” Blatz explained. “So we did take him to the vet. He got an antibacterial shot. And then [the vet] also said that the dog because of his age is probably going to have other issues as well.”

The couple had been hand-feeding their dog and giving him water through a syringe while he was paralyzed.

Blatz shared the picture of the tick and story of her dog’s paralysis to Facebook, hoping to give other pet owners a heads up for what to look for.

“I think it was probably a good warning for people going, ‘Okay. Why is my dog not moving?’ Maybe they wouldn't have thought that, [because] I didn't think it was a tick. So if they see their dog not moving and they see that post, then they'll go ‘Okay, let's check for a tick. Maybe he has a tick and he didn't have a seizure?’ He didn't have a stroke. He’s just got a tick on him somewhere.”

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