Ollie the Sheltie’s owners are calling it a miracle that their furry friend was saved from euthanasia when a paralyzing tick was discovered behind his ear.
The Meteney family, from Portland, Ore., had returned from a camping trip earlier this month when 10-year-old Ollie became increasingly lethargic. According to the DoveLewis Animal Hospital, Ollie was previously a healthy and active dog.
The Meteneys took Ollie to their regular veterinarian who couldn’t find a cause for his illness, despite conducting an array of tests.
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Ollie’s health continued to deteriorate.
He could no longer stand, walk, eat or “do his business” on his own.
“We were at a complete loss,” Al Meteney said. “What do you do in that situation? He is part of our family, and we’ve always tried to provide the best care we can for him.”
They decided to put Ollie down.
Veterinarian Dr. Adam Stone was preparing to put Ollie to sleep when veterinary student Neena Golden felt a strange lump behind the dog’s ear.
The lump turned out to be a tick that had latched onto the pup even though he was wearing a tick collar during the camping trip.
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Stone recalled a rare condition he had learned about in school but had never encountered before: tick paralysis.
The animal hospital said the condition occurs when a tick of a certain species secretes saliva into the dog’s system over a prolonged period, causing paralysis.
Instead of being put down, Ollie was sent home with his family to see if his condition would improve with the tick removed.
“The next morning my mom opened the door and said, ‘Look at your doggie,’” Falline Meteney told KPTV. “He comes walking up to me and I’m barely awake and he just smiled at me.”
Ollie was one minute away from being put down and the Meteneys are calling the incident a “miracle recovery.”
“It was just pure grace that the people found something and decided to check it out further,” Falline said.