Ticks nearly paralyzed a dog in Bibb County, and now the owner wants others to know about the dangers of ticks.
Sabrina Burse reached out to a Central Georgia veterinarian who shared tips on treating tick bites and how to slow down the paralysis once it starts.
“She couldn't walk, it was like she was losing her balance, she wasn't eating right, she wasn't drinking anything, and just wasn't herself,” said dog owner Michelle Johnson.
Johnson says her dog Maggie started acting strange one morning and when they took her to the vet, a tick was latched onto her skin.
“She's got a great deal of health issues other than the tick paralysis, but we didn't know there was any such thing and that it could kill your animal if it's not treated very quickly,” said Johnson.
Dr. Vernard Hodges with the Critter Fixer Veterinary Hospital has been a vet for two decades and says he’s seen 30-40 cases of tick paralysis in that time.
“The thing about tick paralysis is the dog comes in comatose and it happens really quick, so usually the owner is really stunned and really scared,” said Hodges.
The Lone Star Tick is the most common in Georgia, especially in wooded and grassy areas.
“Since there is so many different species of ticks, you want to make sure the product kills the Brown Dog tick [and] the Lone Star tick, which is very prevalent here because we have a large deer population,” said Hodges.
Products like Simparica and Bravecto come in the form of topical solutions or chewable pills to kill ticks.
“I recommend using flea and tick products throughout the year. A lot of people think just the summer time,” said Hodges.
But Hodges also shared a few tips on removing ticks once you notice them.
“Squeeze the tick, kind of hold it for a few seconds until it kind of releases, then take it off. You don't want to just pluck it off. You want to at least kind of hold on and do it. And a couple other tricks, you can just get Vaseline, cover the whole tick with Vaseline. It'll suffocate it, and start working itself out,” said Hodges.
As for Michelle, she's just glad the vet was able to treat her fur baby.
Dr. Hodges recommends keeping pets in a cool place if they are bitten as the neurotoxin tends to flourish in warm environments.
You can visit your local vet for more information on products and tick prevention.