Harriet's time with tick paralysis

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Murwillumbah Veterinary Clinic
8-10 Queen St
Murwillumbah
NSW 2484

Phone:
02 6672 1919
Fax:
02 6672 1918

Harriet the cat came in with tick paralysis.  She is an older Persian cat and due to her breed, already has difficulty breathing.  She also has been given tick antiserum on two previous occasions which greatly increases her risk of a reaction to the tick serum.  She was admitted to hospital and given the usual treatment for tick paralysis, including sedation, tick serum, anti-nausea medication. In Harriet's case, we also gave her some anti-histamines prior to the tick serum to help prevent an allergic reaction to the serum itself (because it is a blood product anaphylactic reactions can occur).

During Harriet's treatment, being a high risk patient, she was given oxygen by a mask and monitored very carefully.  Sadly, to save her life the vets needed to perform a tracheostomy to allow her to continue breathing.  She was also fully clipped to make sure that there were no more ticks hiding under her fur.  Due to her cute squashy face, Harriet always has her tongue hanging out and this has caused the tissue at the tip of her tongue to become damaged.  In the photo, you can see she has a coat on to keep her warm and the tubes you can see, go directly into her trachea giving her oxygen directly to her lungs. You can also see that she wasn't too keen on having her photo taken!

While her recovery was slow, Harriet is now home recovering from her tick paralysis.  She is a very lovely cat indeed and her family are very happy to have her at home again.  Harriet is a great example of how some patients can require intensive care to make it through the ordeal of tick paralysis.  We strongly advise regular tick prevention to help avoid tick paralysis altogether, but we also advise people to consider pet insurance to help with the cost of treatment just in case your pet is unlucky.

During last September, we treated 30 cases of tick paralysis.  Ticks are around all year long in the Tweed Valley, so you can never really relax when it comes to tick prevention.


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