As a dog owner, you always want to be sure that you are taking the best possible care of your dog on a regular basis. However, there are some times in which you feel like you have done nothing wrong or out of the ordinary and your dog just doesn't seem to be doing well. If you have noticed that your dog has become particularly lethargic or seems to be developing a type of paralysis, you and your veterinarian may be stumped as to what could possibly be the cause. Get to know how ticks could be the cause of this issue and what you can do to treat the problem and prevent future issues.

The Tick Problem Nobody Knows About

Ticks are known to be pests for humans and animals alike. It is also well-known that ticks could cause your dog sick with Lyme disease. However, what is not commonly discussed is a condition known as tick paralysis. 

Tick paralysis is the tick problem in dogs that almost nobody knows about. It is a relatively rare reaction to ticks that occurs in dogs. The dog has a tick that latches on and begins doing its business of feeding on your dog. However, as the tick feeds, it also secretes saliva into a dog's body. Sometimes, a dog will have a neurological reaction to that saliva and experience paralysis.

How To Deal With This Tick Problem

As soon as a dog becomes paralyzed, many owners are quick to make the choice to put their dog down. This is because a creeping or spreading paralysis is frightening for your dog and may cause them great distress. However, you do not want to jump to any conclusions, even if your vet cannot find the problem.

If your dog is experiencing a creeping paralysis, of course, you will need to take them to the veterinarian for tests and an examination. However, you and your vet will want to be sure to thoroughly check your dog for ticks. For a dog with extremely thick fur or just a lot of it, you may want to shave them down to get a better look.

When a tick is found, it need to be removed immediately. As soon as the saliva from a tick is removed, the paralysis should begin to subside (if tick paralysis is the cause of the problem). Once the saliva is no longer being secreted into the body, the remaining tick saliva can work its way out of your dog's system, and they can make a full recovery.

Preventing Future Problems

Flea and tick treatments for dogs are the most important step that you can take to prevent your dog from experiencing tick paralysis again. Ticks are active during the spring, summer, and fall before a hard freeze. So, you should make sure your dog is treated with flea and tick prevention treatments throughout those three seasons.

When you and your dog get home from a walk or a trip to the dog park, check them over thoroughly to see if they have any ticks in their fur or that have already latched on. Regular visits for pet grooming can also help with the issue. And, of course, if your dog begins to show signs of paralysis again, get them to the vet or the animal hospital as soon as possible to assess whether or not tick paralysis is the culprit.

Now that you know more about tick paralysis and how to deal with and prevent it, you can be sure that you are taking the best possible care of your dog and keeping them alive and healthy for as long as possible.  

For a veterinarian, contact a clinic such as Animal House Veterinary Hospital.