A rescue dog’s tale of survival has been labelled a miracle after she defied the odds in a battle with a deadly paralysis tick.
A rescue dog’s tale of survival has been labelled a miracle after she defied the odds in a battle with a deadly paralysis tick.

Warning for pet owners despite pup’s ‘miracle’ recovery

A CAIRNS rescue dog's tale of survival has been labelled a "miracle" after she defied the odds in a battle with a deadly paralysis tick just months after two major leg surgeries.

Whoopie, the six-year-old labrador cross, spent about 10 days in hospital at Cairns Veterinary Clinic after becoming infected with the dangerous tick, with vets unsure on whether she would make it.

But with a determination like they've never seen, she pulled through and has now recovered well.

Owner Nick De Gabriele said while Whoopie's treatment had cost him thousands of dollars, saving her was never a question.

Vets across Cairns are seeing a significant spike in paralysis tick cases. Nick De Gabriele and Cairns Veterinary Clinic's Dr Adam Hakim with 6 year old dog Whoopi who survived a paralysis tick a year ago. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN
Vets across Cairns are seeing a significant spike in paralysis tick cases. Nick De Gabriele and Cairns Veterinary Clinic's Dr Adam Hakim with 6 year old dog Whoopi who survived a paralysis tick a year ago. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN

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He said the connection between his 18-month-old daughter, Charlotte, and Whoopie was heartwarming.

"She had surgery on both back legs and then after that there was a paralysis tick," he said.

"We got her from YAPS as a pup and I didn't think we'd ever spend so much money on a dog, but the little one came along and she loves the dog.

"It was so hard seeing Whoopie after the tick, she looked like a rough pup."

Cairns Veterinary Clinic vet Adam Hakim said Whoopie's persistence was rare, with the majority of animals not surviving paralysis ticks.

"It's pretty remarkable that dog's stayed in hospital this long and survived," Dr Hakim said.

"Usually they get better within about four days; it's not very often that a dog fights this hard for this long and they ­survive."

Dr Hakim said paralysis tick cases across Cairns were on the rise, with up to two cases a day.

He urged all animal owners to keep up to date with tick prevention.

"Anecdotally, us and a lot of vet clinics in town think there's going to be a really bad tick season," he said.

"With the higher cases, I think we're going to get a higher death rate. It's more important this year to protect your animals.

"It's a horrible disease and you get it time and time again.

"One of the worst things about paralysis tick toxicity is that it's really unpredictable."

 

Cairns vets are warning that this year’s paralysis tick season could be the worst they’ve seen in many years.
Cairns vets are warning that this year’s paralysis tick season could be the worst they’ve seen in many years.

 

Alert over tick season

Paralysis ticks may be small, but they are one of the most dangerous parasites affecting domestic animals, according to the RSPCA.

As spring approaches, paralysis ticks become more prevalent.

Pet owners are urged to regularly check on their companions and take action if they notice any change in their behaviour or health.

"Every year the medicine improves, but the variability doesn't," vet Adam Hakim said.

Originally published as Warning for pet owners despite pup's 'miracle' recovery


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