Ollie is a 10-year-old Shetland Sheepdog (Lassie's breed, if that helps!).
He'd always been a happy, healthy dog. But after coming back from a trip, Ollie was very lethargic: he seemed to be getting slower and slower, his energy considerably sapped.
After a few weeks, his hindquarters became paralysed. His parents, Al and Joëlle Meteney, took him straight to the doctor, where he was put through a series of medical examinations. They didn't find anything wrong with the poor pup.
But then things took a very worrying turn: Ollie became completely paralysed, no longer able to feed himself or even go to the toilet by himself. The doctors couldn't understand what these terrifying signs meant.
The Meteneys couldn't bear to see him suffer like this. With no sign of improvement, they made the heartrending decision to put Ollie down.
A few days later, they had a meeting at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital to say goodbye to their beloved dog. At the clinic, Dr. Adam Stone and his assistant Neena Golden prepared the procedure, whilst Joëlle Meteney tried to soothe Ollie by scratching him behind the ears, just the way he liked it.
And then, she felt a little lump. Holding back Ollie's long hair for a better view, she saw a tick.
She informed Dr Stone of the discovery, and it suddenly clicked: the doctor remembered that in some rare cases, dogs can become paralysed if they have ticks for a long time, due to a substance in the parasites' saliva which affects the canine nervous system.
It was obvious that they had to get rid of the ticks straight away, shaving Ollie in order to do so. By removing the ticks, paralysis and its related symptoms should disappear.
Ollie's parents held out hope and took their pup home, praying that his health would improve. "You'll know if it has worked after three days", the doctor told them.
Miraculously, this last-minute diagnosis proved correct and Ollie's life was spared at the last minute. Ten days later, Ollie was running about the house, almost completely recovered! His parents can't express their relief and happiness. Joëlle recalls:
It was absolutely incredible. He recovered so quickly! When we learnt the news at the hospital, we were all jumping for joy!
Al, Joëlle's husband, still can't believe it and doesn't know how to thank the doctor.
We were so close to having him put down. At the very last minute the doctor noticed this really rare case.
Luckily, the adorable sheepdog escaped the death they expected, and has found happiness once more.
As for the ticks, the couple are going to double up on precautionary measures, seeing as Ollie spends so much time playing outside. Since he is so often in the open air, he runs an increased risk of contamination, which means he needs careful monitoring and regular examinations to keep the dangerous parasites at bay.
This unbelievable story is an important reminder that ticks can prove a serious threat to your ball of fluff. Click here to find out how to get rid of ticks, and how to avoid them in the first place.