A clever poodle, not unlike Ted.
A clever poodle, not unlike Ted.

Tick poisoning cases show far from typical symptoms

IN VET school, we are taught most diseases have a classic or textbook archetypal example but in real world conditions, it turns out that "classic" is not the same as "typical".

It means so called classic cases are often the exception or even rare.

This is as true for tick poisoning in pets as for anything else.

Even after treating several thousand cases I am still regularly surprised by this disease.

Lately I have seen a few cases where animals have presented with extreme pain and sensitivity in the area around the tick attachment site, but no paralysis or other common symptoms.

This might not seem surprising, until you remember the parasites' survival depends on remaining undetected by the host.

After all, the only reason the adult tick is feeding is so she can produce a batch of eggs.

And it takes seven to 21 days for a tick to fully engorge with blood before egg laying.

Like leeches and other blood sucking parasites, their saliva usually contains a local anesthetic, along with an anticoagulant to keep the blood flowing freely as well as other assorted proteins.

So when Teddy the poodle presented screaming in pain when touched even lightly on his side, a tick was not my first thought.

Nevertheless there it was, a recently attached paralysis tick which when removed, resulted in an immediate easing of poor Ted's discomfort.

That was good because Ted may be the smartest dog in the Northern Rivers.

He can herd cats. His housemate cats, Holly and Misty come inside every night.

On command, Ted will search the two-acre farm, find them one at a time and by a combination of gentle nudging, circling, fussing and other canine cajolery, herd them back into the house.

How he obtains the compliance and co-operation of his feline associates is a mystery.

Maybe they think he is some sort of honorary cat, or maybe he has secret cat-whispering powers.

He can also locate and retrieve the other dog in the household, but anyone can herd dogs.

Ted is too precious to loose to a pesky tick.


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