A veterinary extern unexpectedly saved the life of a sheltie after spotting a paralyzing tick behind his ear— moments before the dog was scheduled to be euthanized.
Ollie, 10, lives in Southeast Portland with his owner, Falline Fate Meteney, and her parents, Al and Joelle Meteney, and loves the outdoors. But about a week after returning from a recent trip to the Umpqua River and Eastern Oregon, Ollie began acting lethargic. Eventually, he was no longer able to stand up, walk or control his bladder.
Eventually, Ollie ended up at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland.
“We were at a complete loss,” Al said, according to a news release on the hospital’s website. “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.”
The family made the difficult decision to put Ollie to sleep so the pooch would no longer have to suffer. But moments before the humane procedure, an extern at DoveLewis, Neena Golden, was comforting Ollie and made an unexpected discovery: a lump behind his ears. That lump turned out to be a tick. Although Ollie had worn a tick collar during his trip, the parasite managed to latch onto Ollie and hide itself in the dog’s thick fur.
Visiting veterinarian Dr. Adam Stone determined the tick was the culprit for Ollie’s paralysis.
“I had never seen a tick paralysis case,” Stone said in the release. “It’s one of those things you learn about randomly in school— it’s on one slide during one presentation.”
Ten hours after removing the tick then shaving Ollie’s fur to ensure no other parasites were lurking in it, Ollie was back to his normal, energetic self.
“When we got the call from his owners that Ollie was doing fine, we all high-fived each other,” Golden said in the release. “That might be the one tick paralysis case I experience in my career. It was exciting that we could help.”