Vet Student Saves Dog Minutes Before Euthanasia

Ollie, the 10 year old Sheltie, had been suffering from severe paralysis and wouldn’t eat, drink, or eliminate on his own. Despite multiple tests and no answers, Ollie’s family was heartbroken, but didn’t want Ollie to suffer. With his health rapidly declining, they were faced with the tough decision no pet owner wants to make.

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Image: DoveLewis

According to Veterinarian Dr. Adam Stone, the sudden onset of symptoms could have been the result of many things, such as spinal fracture or cancer, but despite thorough exploration, tests, and medication, they were at a loss. It wasn’t until visiting vet intern Neena Golden was prepping Ollie for the euthanasia procedure at Portland’s DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital that the cause was found.

Nestled in the fur behind Ollie’s ear was a tick.

Tick paralysis, a rare condition caused by toxins released in tick saliva, can lead to severe symptoms such as the one’s Ollie was suffering. The fortuitous discovery saved Ollie’s life.

“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," said Stone in an interview. The owner Al Meteney was grateful that the doctors at DoveLewis “remembered what they had learned years ago,” especially because tick paralysis is so uncommon.

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Image: DoveLewis

The family suspected that Ollie had picked up the tick--despite wearing a tick and flea collar--on their recent camping trip.

Only ten hours after the tick was removed, Ollie returned to his normal active and friendly self with a new lease on life and a lucky second chance.

Thanks to Neena Golden and Dr. Stone, Ollie will have plenty more opportunities to explore the outdoors with his family, but will take an ingestible tick prevention as well as the collar.