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Vet Spots Tick On Dog Moments Before Euthanization

By Nora Hart

PORTLAND, Ore. (CNN) -- It was a close call for some local dog owners.

Just moments before they were going to have their paralyzed dog put down, someone discovered a tick in the dog's neck.

Hours later, the dog was back on its paws.

Ollie the Collie has been through a lot the last few days, and so have his owners.

They're thankful to have their family dog back, because just a few days ago they didn't think he was going to make it.

"When his mobility was shot and he was paralyzed, it was just weird seeing him just laying there on the floor, knowing he had so much more life in him," Ollie's owner Falline Fate said.

That's when Fate feared it could be the end for her beloved Ollie.

"He's been a really big part of our family," she said.

After a thorough check at the vet revealed no answers, his owners made a tough decision.

"They finally decided they had reached their limit and it was time to help him pass," Dove Lewis Animal Hospital veterinarian Dr. Adam Stone said. "He couldn't stand, he couldn't walk, he couldn't urinate, couldn't defecate. So they had instructions to go get his bladder emptied twice a day from the regular vet to see if he would improve."

Dr. Stone treated Ollie, and said the dog's sudden onset paralysis could have stemmed from a number of issues.

"Anything from cancer to trauma, or a fracture of a vertebra, or a spinal fracture. Any one of these could have caused similar signs," he explained.

It turns out, though, that it wasn't any of those things. The actual culprit was literally much smaller.

A tick was found lodged behind Ollie's ear, and Fate thought he may have picked it up on a recent camping trip.

The parasite was discovered just in the nick of time by a veterinary intern.

"He was in the room about to get put to sleep, and it was just pure grace that the people found something and decided to check it out further," Fate explained.

"They have a neurotoxin in their saliva that prevents nerve transition to the muscles, and that takes time to build up in the body and cause paralysis like what we saw in Ollie," Stone said.

Aside from an unflattering haircut, Ollie was back to his energetic self about 10 hours after the tick was pulled out.

"The next morning my mom opened the door and said, 'Look at your doggie,' and he comes walking up to me, and I'm barely awake, and he just smiled at me," Fate recalls.

Dr. Stone explained that paralysis from ticks is pretty rare, but can happen with certain types of ticks. He recommends even using several different methods to prevent ticks, such as an oral and topical treatment, in addition to a collar.

Ollie's owners said they will definitely keep up with tick and flea medication from here on out.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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