An Oregon dog will live to camp another day thanks to a veterinary employee who saved him from euthanasia with mere moments to spare.
Ollie, a 10-year-old Shetland sheepdog had led a healthy life up until he suddenly and mysteriously began to lose control over his body.
As veterinarian after veterinarian scratched their heads about what was causing the paralysis, Ollie's condition worsened to the point he could no longer walk or even control his bowels.
The situation became so dire and Ollie's quality of life so poor that his owners, Al and Joelle Meteney, decided to euthanize their beloved companion rather than watch him suffer.
The couple took Ollie to DoveLewis Animal Hospital in Portland, where Dr. Dr. Adam Stone was put in charge of his end-of-life care.
The clinic explained what happened next in a release:
As he and extern Neena Golden were preparing for the procedure, Neena took a moment to comfort Ollie. She was scratching behind his ears and felt a strange lump in his thick fur. The lump turned out to be a tick. Even though Ollie was wearing a tick collar during his outdoor trip, the creature had still managed to lodge itself in Ollie’s fur.
As it turned out, Ollie's mysterious illness could be explained by a rare reaction to a substance found in the saliva of certain tick species.
The family had, not long before Ollie's symptoms appeared, taken the dog on a camping trip where he likely picked up the parasite.
“The tick was very bloated, and there was lots of fecal material from the tick. It had obviously been there for a while,” Dr. Stone said. " “I had never seen a tick paralysis case. It’s one of those things you learn about randomly in school — it’s on one slide during one presentation.”
As stunning as the diagnosis was, Ollie's recovery from tick paralysis — which usually takes days —was just as shocking.
Only about 10 hours after the tick was removed, Al Meteney was surprised to hear the clicking of Ollie’s nails on their hardwood floor, the press release reads.
Ollie was walking on his own power and ready to be let outside for a bathroom break. “We were astounded by the quick turnaround,” he said. “Ollie is looking better and better every day.”