It took the tireless work of a veterinarian and a blood donation from her dog to save the life of a puppy facing a tick infestation.
On Friday night, Regina-area dog rescue CC RezQs brought a puppy – believed to be about 11-weeks-old – into TM’z Veterinary Clinic in Lumsden.
Caillin Rodonets, co-founder of CCRezQs, said they could tell the puppy needed medical attention right away.
“She weighed eight pounds, she should’ve been easily double what she was weighing.”
Dr. Tanya Marshall owns TM’z and was one of four people who’d spend the night pulling “hundreds and hundreds” of ticks off the puppy.
“She was a pretty sick puppy,” Marshall explained. “She wasn’t really overly responsive. She’d just lift her head a bit. She had a significant amount of blood loss from the tick infestations.”
The team of four had to clip her, pulling more ticks off as they went along.
The puppy, now affectionately known at the vet clinic as Tic-Tac, was found to be significantly anemic with around a third of what would be considered normal blood volume. She needed a blood transfusion – and fast.
“Without a blood transfusion, she never would have survived,” Marshall explained Monday. “Even with all the ticks being off and not having any more blood loss, we just knew if we didn’t give her a blood transfusion, she wasn’t going to make the night. That’s how much blood can be removed by feeding ticks.”
Luckily, there was a donor around the clinic: Marshall’s own dog, Kelso.
“He got to be the donor so we pulled blood from him and transfused it into little Tic-Tac,” she said.
The transfusion worked and Tic-Tac began to rebound.
“Within even half an hour to one hour of transfusing, she started to start lifting her head, looking around, that type of thing,” Marshall explained. “By almost 2:30 a.m., she was up barking and eating and doing very, very well.”
Tic-Tac is now recovering at the home of her foster mom, another TM’z employee. She was back in the clinic Monday “happy, wagging her tail, just bright and alert,” according to Marshall.
“It’s kind of neat to see how a puppy can be, well, close to death,” she said. “That puppy, in the wild without treatment, would have not made the night.”
Rodonets said the dog isn’t currently up for adoption because the group wants to ensure Tic-Tac is healthy and receives all the proper vaccinations.
CCRezQs is also looking for help with the medical bills from the blood transfuzion.
People who want to donate can call TM’z and make a donation or send an e-transfer to email@example.com with the password: ticks.
Marshall said Tic-Tac’s case was the worst she’s seen in dogs, but she has seen similar infestations in horses. She said everyone – from those with livestock to those in the city with pets – need to be mindful of checking for ticks.
She offered these tips for tick control:
- Use a repellant or oral product – or both. Marshall said oral products kill the tick once it starts to feed. “Those are important products to use for tick prevention.” She recommended veterinary products and using them in tandem for best results.
- Check dogs and cats that go outdoors for ticks. She recommended checking between toes, the pads on dogs’ feet, by the ears, chin and eyes on the face, groin, armpit, and under the bum and tail.
- Check horses, which Marshall said are very prone to ticks, and livestock. “Tick infestations can take puppies down but they can also take large animals down.”
- To remove a tick, Marshall said to avoid burning them or using something like Vaseline to get them to back out. “We don’t want you do that because it basically makes the tick regurgitate or vomit into the dog,” she explained. Instead, Marshall said the proper way to remove ticks was to grab close to the skin by the tick’s head and twisting.