Don’t rule anything out…Last Wednesday I saw my German Shepherd, Bodie fall on the stairs, a bad landing, nothing serious.
At the time he seemed alright, and I thought nothing of it. We went on to work and he acted normal.
When we got home going up the stairs, he lost control of his back end and once inside on the wood/tile floors he was really struggling. He went to bed, and I thought he had some muscle pain. The next morning there was no improvement, he was a bit worse.
We went to the vet, told what I saw happen on the stairs, they did X-rays that showed a small fracture in a bone spur and age-appropriate arthritis. I was given meds and sent home told to follow up if anything worsens and let him rest. That is what we did.
I helped him up and down the stairs to potty, By Saturday morning he was losing control of all legs and not sitting up with rapid breathing.
I immediately called the vet and gave them this information, waiting on a call back and researching other causes of rapid decline in motor skills, then I remembered a story about another small dog with similar symptoms, healthy and not walking in 24 hours.
At the time I asked some locals about it and the ones that hunt knew all about this phenomenon called tick paralysis. I started searching his body for anything. He was my healthy boy on Wednesday morning and by Saturday morning unable to control his legs or even hold himself up, a rapid decline for sure. Then I found a tick on his tail. When the vet called back, and I mentioned this they thought I was delusional or maybe too hopeful. I was given the advice to go to emergency vet 2 hours away. I had removed the tick and contacted the emergency vet they had no specialist on staff over the weekend so no in-depth diagnostic until Monday. I would have been there as soon as they opened. They could only hospitalize him, if needed.
I decided to rest him at home and take him in if he got worse. One hour after removing the tick his breathing started to normalize and he started sitting up and looking around. I thought I was seeing him improve but I also realized that I was looking for anything to hold onto.
Three hours he got out of bed and went to the door, still stumbling, and tried to bark at FedEx (he hates that guy). Six hours I walked in the door, and he was on the couch (first time since Wednesday), he immediately jumped up and brought me a toy. Still stumbling some but only on the back end. The next morning, he was able to do the steps on his own. Thirty-six hours he was back to running down the stairs. This morning forty-eight hours he is back.
I am so grateful that I remembered the story and it was a tick. Also, glad we caught the arthritis and can help him out with it. He is only 10 and got a great report on his yearly checkup. A creature the size of my pinky nail tried to take down my German Shepherd. Crazy… According to the American Lyme Disease Foundation there are 40 species of ticks that paralyze worldwide and 5 in North America, and it looks like Florida has most of them.