LUCKY DOG: Cooper Morgan, 3, cuddles with his best mate Chippy who was lucky to survive an attack from paralysis ticks.
LUCKY DOG: Cooper Morgan, 3, cuddles with his best mate Chippy who was lucky to survive an attack from paralysis ticks.

Beloved dog survives death row

IT was a happy ending to what could have easily been a tragic moment for a Lake Clarendon family last week after their beloved pet was almost lost to paralysis ticks.

Chippy, an English Staffy, was taken to the UQ Small Animal Hospital in a serious condition following the discovery of three ticks which had left the pet vomiting and unable to stand.

Vets are warning dog owners to be vigilant during the spring and summer months for signs of ticks to prevent their furry family members from the nasty parasites.

Head of the UQ Small Animal Hospital Bob Doneley said on arrival Chippy was sedated and injected with the tick anti-serum but was later put on oxygen, a drip and catheter with no response from treatments.

"Unfortunately there is a time delay of 24 hours between when the ticks have been removed and the animal treated before you can tell if they are clear and have no problems," Dr Doneley said.

"The serum binds to the toxin itself which stops them getting any worse but it doesn't reverse the problems that have developed and the serum won't make them unparalysed."

After enduring a grim week with Chippy remaining unresponsive to treatments, owner Teneale Smith said the family had made the difficult choice to put the dog down but was convinced by vets to wait an extra night.

Mrs Smith said she travelled to the Animal Hospital the next day prepared for the worst but was shocked to be told on arrival that the family pet had made a slight improvement and over the following days continued to make a strong recovery.

Mrs Smith said Chippy was a lucky dog and was pleased to have him back home.

"We had even dug the hole and everything," Mrs Smith said.

"We are very happy he is alive, he is a good little dog.

"Vets aren't cheap and if it's a simple thing of checking for ticks everyday can save their life then it's worth it."

Dr Doneley said Chippy's case was unique but warned this spring and summer could be a bad season for ticks.

"Normally the toxin wears off after two or three days but Chippy took nearly a week so it was an unusual case," he said.

"One tick is enough to kill a German Shepherd.

"I feel the rain at the beginning of the year has resulted in more lush green vegetation and an explosion in the numbers of bandicoots which are a natural host for ticks.

"There are a lot of different chemical products such as Frontline, tick collars and Advantage to help but the only sure way is to search the dog or cat every day."


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