And upon reading this, I'm sure that this is one of the first images that came to mind...
She starts panting, gasping for air.
I take her collar off of her as Gus does another check...
And there, on the right side of her neck, is a tick.
Now, meet the Australian Paralysis Tick, scientifically known as Ixodes holocyclus.
Where's their habitat, you might ask? THE ENTIRE FREAKING EASTERN COAST OF AUSTRALIA, and apparently the smattering of beaches I live on - Sydney's Northern Beaches - are infamous for them.
Some of the many symptoms of a paralysis tick bite include:
- weakness or paralysis in the back legs
- coughing or gagging
- change of tone in meow/bark
- grunt in breathing
- inability to stand
- facial paralysis
Oh, and the best part about these things? They hitch rides on all the native animals like bandicoots, kangaroos, and possums - all of which, are immune to the bite of a paralysis tick.
These little bastards kill around 100,000 domesticated animals a year throughout Australia. Pretty much everyone who lives around here, has had at least one pet die, or have known of a family pet dying from these things.
Needless to say, the moment Angus and I found the bastard on Myndee, we went into panic mode. We put Myndee straight in her carrying crate and bolted out the door. It was a race to the After Hours Emergency Vet Clinic about ten minutes away, and by the time we got there, Myndee was silent.
The vet staff was awesome - unfortunately, they have to deal with tick bites a lot - and the tick they pulled off her neck, sure enough, was an Australian Paralysis Tick. But luckily, it wasn't very large, and they pulled it off her with no problems.
But she was still struggling. Her pupils were massively dilated, she was skiddish, silent, and wasn't moving much at all. The vet said they needed to keep her over night, as well as administer her the paralysis tick serum and wash her. And so we had to leave our poor little girl at the vet.
It's been 24 hours, and I just got off the phone with the vet yet again. Her pupils are still way too dilated and she hasn't eaten, drank, or used the bathroom yet, so they're keeping her for another night.
Living in Sydney, I don't have to worry about crocodiles or King Brown Snakes or Great Whites. The worst thing we have to really deal with on the Northern Beaches are some pretty gnarly rips at the beach...but I was a very silly girl to underestimate the brutal power of Australia.
And what I'm starting to realize, is that the native life here, really was made to kill.
**UPDATE: Myndee is back home recovering after two nights at the vet. She should pull through and make a full recovery, though it will be weeks, if not months, before she's back to her normal, energetic Bengal self**
~Little Blonde Traveler