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  • Writer's pictureJacq & Rach

A Week to Tick Off

In a social media-driven world it is easy to only talk about the good things that happen. The successes. The things that make it look like we are only winning at life. As breeders, it is also really easy for us to only share the good, because we know, in a social media-driven world, that sharing the bad opens us up to potential criticism. But sharing the bad can also ensure other people may not have to experience the same thing. So here goes the story of this week...

On Wednesday morning, at 11.30am while leaning over the whelping box and taking cute photos I spotted something walking along the bedding. I reached in, picked it up, and placed it in my hand. My heart began racing and I began to freak out. A fully engorged paralysis tick. Whilst the logical part of my brain knew it had to have come off Liina, the illogical part of my brain was busy FREAKING OUT!

I quickly made the first of what would end up being several vet calls that day, as well as a call to Jacq. The staff at the Animal Medical Centre, Launceston, told me what signs to look for. They will not administer the anti-venom serum without clinical signs. I was also freaking out about what this would mean for the puppies. Would she be hospitalised? Would the anti-venom pass to the puppies? So many questions. At 5.00pm I had a video consult with a vet through Vet Chat, who was able to be very specific with the clinical signs to look for. At 6.00pm one of those signs presented itself: a short shallow breath that sounds only like an exhale. I rushed her immediately to the vet. Whilst in the waiting room Liina vomited, a second clinical sign. After checking her calcium levels to rule out eclampsia, the decision was made to administer the anti-venom serum. The vet was 'fairly' sure the serum wouldn't pass to the puppies, but added if it could pass to the puppies, so could the toxin.

The serum took 45 minutes to administer. The longest 45 minutes of my life. Normally the dog would stay in the hospital for at least 24 hours, but because of the puppies, I was allowed to take her home. She continued to feed the puppies throughout the night without issue. The next morning I took her back for her follow-up appointment. She was bright, her lungs and heart all good, and her swallow reflex was working. So whilst it was stressful (understatement of the year), her recovery has been swift. And I am ignoring all of the 'what if's' that have run through my mind since. So how can I prevent this from happening again? In many ways, it was a freak thing. Liina had only been outside to toilet and this was still being done by me walking her on a lead within the confines of our yard. My dogs are treated with a preventative for ticks over summer, but I had not retreated them as it is April. That is what I have learned from this: paralysis ticks remain active, even in Tasmania, all year round.

Luckily the week has been fairly non-eventful for the puppies themselves. Eyes have begun opening and they are beginning to get active in the whelping box. We continue to do their ENS protocols and trim nails regularly. Today they were wormed for the first time and of course had their photo shoot. It was great to have my budding pet photographer back.

Here are their two-week photos:





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