Tick, tick

 
Leo shaved & in hospital

No pet owner wants to find their pet paralysed. This happened to us on Sunday.

Setting the scene

  • Picking my husband up froom the airport early Sunday morning
  • Looking after my neighbours dogs as well as my own pets and kids.
  • Preparing for a 10 year olds’ birthday party

Ok so life is busy. But something still told me all was not right with my youngest and largest cat Leo on Sunday morning He had not had his breakfast and I had not seen him that morning.  I went looking.

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Leo with full mane of hair

I found him in a corner of the garden, apparently snoozing. I picked him up and put him down again – nothing. He could not walk. Then I heard him breathing – slow, laboured. I knew immediately (because it had happened once before). Paralysis tick.

Hospital

Off we went to the emergency animal hospital Sash (small animal specialist hospital) which fortunately is quite near where we live, There we found two ticks and Leo was admitted.

Leo was shaved, sprayed with Frontline, anti-tick venom given and fluids administered. It takes 48 hours for the toxin to be removed from the body so we had to wait and see if Leo could recover or whether he would continue a downhill slide.

Fortunately Leo recovered well. He is a quiet fighter. A day later, he was improving steadily, not enough to come home as he had not eaten solid food yet (the toxin affects their swallowing reflex). We went to visit him in hospital.

Hospital visit

The cat room at Sash

Sash (small animal specialist hospital) were great. Under the care of Dr Lisa Chimes and the other vets and staff there, we were kept informed at all times. On our visit we had a private cat room where the whole family gathered to give Leo his daily cuddles and to encourage him to eat, as he had not yet done so.

Today we got the happy news that Leo could return home. Home to a quiet, calm household. Ok when not everything’s possible. But we are keeping him as calm as possible. He has his own private eating and sleeping quarters but still with plenty of cuddles.

Leo at home

Paralysis ticks

If you would like to know more about paralysis ticks (and if you live in east coast Australia, you should!), please read these facts:

paralysis ticks

A happy family

We are so happy to have Leo home again. Lucky and happy!

Family visit Leo in hospital
 

Indignity of a shaved cat
Mew investigates Leo's cage

 

Ticks affect humans too: Dec 2011
Paralysis tick affect humans too. I know. I am recovering from a tick bite.
The palms of my hand were itchy and swollen. Two minutes later I was numb and deaf in my left ear. Then hives started appearing all over my body. Within 15 mins my eye had swollen and my lips were beginning to swell. I took an antihistamine and went off to hospital.

I found the tick on the back of my head on the way to hospital. it was barely engorged so could not have been there for long.

Luckily I did not go into anaphylactic shock. The tick had not made me paralysed, although if undetected, this can happen, with children especially.

I was left feeling weak, partly due to the sleep-inducing antihistamine, partly due to the effects of one tiny blood-sucking parasite. Not only do I now need to be careful for Leo and my other pets in my garden but I also need to careful for myself!

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