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Tick paralysis - anyone have experience with rehab?

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:27 pm
by RaccoonRebel
I am the caretaker of a raccoon kit. He was found screaming outside a construction site in the pouring rain. I think he was about 3 weeks old when we took him in, now he's approximately 8 weeks old. The first few weeks I picked several tiny ticks (flea size) off him. He'd get lethargic and I'd do a tick check. Each time (3) this happened he'd bounce back somewhat from his lethargy. He has been completely tick- free for just over two weeks. He has not fully recovered his voice. Vet's immediate thought was tick paralysis and was surprised he is still alive.

The problem is - the last bout left him partially paralyzed and weak in his legs. He never really learned to walk like a big raccoon because of the ticks. Now we are trying to teach him to walk. I made a "walker" cage, with slings to help him "stand", out of Tinker Toys and we put him in it several times a day. He has some balance issues along with the leg problems. Today he purposely scratched his chin and licked his back foot, so that is some progress.

So, finally my question- does anyone here have experience with rehabbing an animal after tick paralysis?

Re: Tick paralysis - anyone have experience with rehab?

Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:35 pm
by Trefoil
Sorry- I hadn't heard of tick paralysis. So anything you find out will be a valuable resource. The only thing even close is in poultry and that's usually a vit/mineral deficiency. Could it be something like lyme disease?

Re: Tick paralysis - anyone have experience with rehab?

Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:43 pm
by Trefoil
I looked it up on the internet & according to Dr. Thomas Mather, a professor of public health entomology and director of the Center for Vector Borne Disease and Tick Encounter Resource Center at the University of Rhode Island, once you find & remove the tick that's causing it, it usually goes away.

Re: Tick paralysis - anyone have experience with rehab?

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:06 am
by pat
Trefoil,

I too was wondering the difference. glad you found more info on it.
I also thought lyme disease was the reason for any type of infected tick bites.

when my dog had lyme, she did get to the point where she couldn't walk, after treatment, she was better. :shrug:



RaccoonRebel,

hoping your baby has made improvement by now?

Re: Tick paralysis - anyone have experience with rehab?

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:51 pm
by DeweysMom
RaccoonRebel, I hate to direct traffic away from this forum, but when the health of one of our furr-kids hangs in the balance, I will. There is a wonderfully knowledgeable community of raccoon health-savvy people on the Facebook group "Raccoon Health". If you join there and pose your questions, I'm sure someone there has seen something similar and can help you fix this little guy. Good luck!

Re: Tick paralysis - anyone have experience with rehab?

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:49 am
by RaccoonRebel
Thanks everybody. From what I've read, it takes a while to recover from just ONE tick, and this little guy had several.

I made him a walker with a sling to help hold him up. He can use his legs and build up his muscle strength. At least that's what we hope. He is alert, responds to sounds- esp my voice, he doesn't have much of a voice but he squawks at the dogs, he eats well but only from his bottle- he will lick ice cream but spits out other foods, he tries very hard to walk alone but he still needs help.

I will not give up on him until the vet tells me there is zero hope left.

Re: Tick paralysis - anyone have experience with rehab?

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:53 am
by Trefoil
Swimming might help him build up strength and reflexes. Sounds like a perfect lap coon, enjoy it while it lasts. I hope he keeps getting better. Do they know what it is that causes the
paralyses? If its a toxin, there may be something you can do to help him get it out of his system.

Re: Tick paralysis - anyone have experience with rehab?

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 11:48 am
by hecate
It is a toxin:

http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/nervo ... lysis.html

If any mouth parts are left after removing the ticks the toxin will still be present. There is an antitoxin serum but no indication of whether it can be used in raccoons.

ETA -- PubMed paper on antitoxin reactions: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11491215

Re: Tick paralysis - anyone have experience with rehab?

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:34 pm
by Trefoil
Thanks

Re: Tick paralysis - anyone have experience with rehab?

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:29 am
by RaccoonRebel
The ticks were so tiny I used a jewelers loop to nake sure their heads were still on their nasty little bodies. He has improved; after I removed the last 3 ticks I thought he might die. He would take his bottle but would just lay around like a lump. Now he can stand if he has some side support. His front right leg is affected the most. I am having a hard time keeping the range of motion. I will make a safety sling and see if he will "swim".

He is also starting to chew on me so I think he is trying to play. I have hope but I think it will be a long process.

Re: Tick paralysis - anyone have experience with rehab?

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:35 am
by pat
did the vet prescribe antibiotics?

at least he is making progress, so with hope he will improve.

try not to let him chew on you, give him a stuffed animal instead.

those darn ticks are really horrible, such a small thing can cause so much damage. icon-sad

please keep us updated.

Re: Tick paralysis - anyone have experience with rehab?

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:56 am
by DeweysMom
Thanks for the link to the Merck article Hecate. I'd honestly never heard of the disease. Wow - nasty stuff! Good to know all about it in the event I ever see it in any of my critters.

Here I was only worrying about Lyme disease from those stinkin' ticks! I never knew something worse could be carried by them. icon-sad

Re: Tick paralysis - anyone have experience with rehab?

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:18 pm
by Trefoil
Deweys mom- I don't do face book, was there anything helpful on the forum?
RR- are you absolutely sure you got all the ticks?

Re: Tick paralysis - anyone have experience with rehab?

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:59 pm
by DeweysMom
I don't do face book, was there anything helpful on the forum?


I didn't post a question regarding tick paralysis there; I was only directing RaccoonRebel there if she wanted to join and ask if anyone was familiar with it. I guess I could ask , though... I'll do that and post here if I find anything out.

Re: Tick paralysis - anyone have experience with rehab?

Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:08 pm
by DeweysMom
Trefoil, I asked about tick paralysis and the reply was once ticks are removed, the patient should improve drastically in under 24 hours. It was suggested that perhaps it's not tick paralysis, but rather a condition called "wobbles". One person posted several videos of raccoons with this condition, and if anyone is really interested in this topic, I would highly recommend joining that group so you can view the vids.

I know FB contains so much drama, and is often a huge time-sucker, but if you avoid all that crap and concentrate only on groups such as this, you stand to gain a fair amount of knowledge from those who are in the trenches. I belong to several rehabber groups in addition to the raccoon health group, and I have to say that I have learned ALOT from the other members.

My suggestion is if RaccoonRebel wants a good answer tick paralysis vs wobbles, she/he should join and speak directly to those in the know.